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Russia is the terra incognita of the world today. We 
make daring and costly efforts in the interests of science to 
explore the North and South Poles where no man lives, and 
since Livingstone we have added the Dark Continent to our 
world of understanding. If we do not know much concern- 
ing these areas at least we have no fatal misinformation 
about them and no attitudes that hinder correct interpreta- 
tion of any facts we may learn. We have more information 
about Russia, but we also have more misinformation. fl It is 
not too much to say that this one-sixth of our planet is the 
most misunderstood portion of the globe and for good 
reason. The issues concerned in an almost entirely new 
social order, based upon a new conception of life, affecting 
the family and the home, morality and religion, liberty and 
justice, and involving the contrasts of war or peace, love or 
hate, violence or non-violence, tolerance or persecution, capi- 
talism or communism, all are so vital and bound up with our 
deepest convictions and our most sacred traditions, that im- 
partial and objective judgment in such cases is difficult or 
almost impossible, 

Yet there is no country that is more important to under- 
stand or that is likely more profoundly to affect the rest of 
the world, whether for good or evil, in the coming years and 
generations. For Russia has come to stay, at least for a very 



long time. It is upon us. Whether as a menace, or as a 
challenge to set our own house in order, or as a vast experi- 
ment which may in time work out some values that may be 
of use to the rest of humanity, we ought to know what is 
going on in that section of the world. Yet it is almost as 
difficult as judging Germany in war time. There is misin- 
formation and false propaganda, often well meaning, on 
both sides. 

This book is written in the conviction that Russia consti- 
tutes a challenge to America and the world. Though poles 
apart, both the friends and foes of the Soviet Union will 
probably object to some of the statements here made, but the 
manuscript has been submitted for criticism and correction 
to experts both in Moscow and New York, to learn whether 
in point of fact there were any statements that were untrue 
or unfair, however much both sides may differ as to their 

The question is often asked as to how far visitors are able 
to ascertain the realities of the situation in Russia. It is true 
that tourist parties visiting the country for the first time, 
knowing nothing of the language, are partly at the mercy of 
their guides and interpreters, but our parties have been given 
every facility for hearing many witnesses on both sides of 
every question. The writer has made six visits to Russia in 
connection with his work, twice under the Czarist regime in 
1911 and 1912, four times under the present government in 
1923, 1926, 1929 and 1930. Year by year we have seen our 
former acquaintances of the old order both inside and out- 
side the Soviet Union* *We have interviewed friends and 


foes of the present government, foreigners and Russians in 
every walk of life. We have gone everywhere we wished 
by night or day with perfect freedom. We have chosen our 
own interpreters, often taking them from America or find- 
ing them among our permanent friends in Russia. We have 
selected the factories and institutions we wished to inspect, 
and no suggestion was ever made by the authorities that we 
should see certain show places or favorable situations. No- 
where have we been accorded greater kindness, courtesy or 
freedom of movement, or met with more frank, fearless and 
honest men than many of those in high positions. We have 
spoken to them and their leaders have replied to us with more 
rugged and unsparing criticism than in any other country in 
the world. In no other land do we feel obliged to tell people 
what we 'think of them or wherein we differ from them. 
There is no criticism in this book which we have not frankly 
and repeatedly stated to the Russian leaders themselves. 

With regard to the reliability of Russian statistics, it 
should be stated that figures and estimates sometimes differ 
between one department and another, as in many other lands. 
On the other hand, no other country has to rely so much upon 
its own statistics, and to stake practically its very life upon 
them in the supply of the whole population with l necessities* 
and the coordination"* of every branch o the national economy 
In production and consumption with the actual needs of the 
people. We believe that their statistics may be taken, not by 
any means as infallible, but as on the whok reliable. 

The American experts and economists who made an inves- 
tigation of Russia in 1927 agree with their colleague, Stuart 


Chase, when he writes : "Everyone of us leaves Russia with 
a high opinion of Russian statistical methodology, with a 
feeling of certainty that the control figures given are as 
accurate as common sense and hard work can make them, 
and that the 'two sets of figures' story is an insult to the 
intelligent mind." 1 After a long residence in Russia, W. H. 
Chamberlin states that "the Gosplan, in its estimates of 
industrial development, has shown a tendency to undershoot 
rather than overshoot the mark/' 2 

The writer has endeavored to be objective, impartial and 
neutral, criticizing freely and unsparingly what he con- 
siders to be the serious evils in the soviet system, yet ad- 
mitting with equal frankness and appreciation any values 
that may be found in Russia, and any possible suggestions 
that it may have for other countries, however much he may 
differ from their principles or practices. We may learn 
even from a competitor or an opponent with whom we may 
completely disagree. The reader should remember that the 
more favorable aspects of Russian life appear in the first 
chapters, while the more unfavorable facts and a thorough- 
going criticism of the system occur in Chapters IX, X and 
XIII. The views herein expressed are purely personal and 
unofficial and in no way involve any organization. In 
fact, having reached the retirement age, the writer has 
automatically terminated official connection with the organi- 
zations with which he has hitherto been connected. 

New York, January 19, 1931. 

* Soviet Russia in the Second Decad4 t p. 3& 

* Soviet Russicfj p. 136. 





For good or for evil, Russia matters profoundly. Up to 
the time of the great War we had in the world prevailingly 
one social order. There were advanced and backward na- 
tions, but all civilized countries were following a somewhat 
similar line of evolutionary development. Since the October 
Revolution in Russia we have on our planet two social 
orders, antithetic, antipodal, challenging, conflicting, appar- 
ently irreconcilable. Here is a new and incalculable fact in 
modern history. 

We can no longer delude ourselves with the comfortable 
promise of the speedy overthrow of this hostile system. It 
is becoming fairly obvious that the wish has been father to 
the thought and that we have been victimized by our own 
propaganda against Russia, as we were during the war con- 
cerning Germany. For a long time we were told every few 
weeks that the government was about to fall, that men were 
starving in this "economic vacuum," that they would soon 
revolt against such hardships and injustice and tyranny. 
Then suddenly the predicted failure became so ominously 
successful that Russia was said to be threatening the markets 
of the world by enormous dumping of grain, timber, pulp- 
wood and other commodities. People are reported as hun- 
grily waiting in bread lines in the cities of Russia while at 



the same time their government is successfully invading the 
markets of the world. We shall endeavor to examine the 
facts in the case. 

The significance of the Russian experiment challenges 
attention. In sheer mass and magnitude Russia is impres- 
sive. It is the largest continuous domain under one political 
jurisdiction. Its 8,144,228 square miles 1 extend across two 
continents, covering nearly half of Europe and more than a 
third of Asia. This area is nearly three times the extent of 
continental United States, and is greater than Canada, the 
United States and Mexico combined, or about equal to the 
whole of North America, Its area is four times that of the 
continent of Europe without Russia, and nearly one-sixth of 
the habitable land area of the globe. 2 An American living 
east of Cleveland is nearer to Moscow than many of the 
eastern inhabitants of the U. S. S. R. Siberia alone, with 
its vast resources, has an area one and a half times that of 
the United States and, if peopled with the density of Bel- 
gium, would accommodate more than the present population 
of the entire world. 

The population of Russia on October 1, 1930, was ap- 
proximately 160,OQO,000. 3 It is now increasing annually 

11 Or 21,342,872 square kilometres. A kilometre 'is .621 miles. Soviet 
Union Year Book, 1930. Of the inhabited portion 81.9 is fit for agricul- 
ture, while 24.1 per cent is uninhabited and unsurveyed. 

a Omitting the uninhabitable portions of the arctic in the 57,510,000 
square miles of land. 

8 The population of the present territory of the U. S. S, R, according 
to the census of 1897 was 106,256,000; according to the census of 1926 it 
was 147,013,600. Ten Years of Soviet Power in Figures, 1917-1927, p. 32, 


2.33ger cent, or 3,657,000 a year, while the remainder of 
Europe combined, with a population of 370,000,000, is in- 
creasing less than 3,000,000 a year. This means that the 
Soviet Union is adding almost exactly 10,000 a day to its 
population, representing both the largest total and propor- 
tion of growth of any country in the world. The average 
annual birth rate for the last three years has been 42.9 per 
thousand while the average death rate has been reduced from 
28.6 before the war, to 20.7 per thousand at present. 1 All 
of this is in the face of the most liberal policy on birth con- 
trol of any government in Europe. The population is as 
various as it is large, embracing 182 nationalities speaking 
149 different languages. 

* The resources of Russia seem to be as remarkable as its 
size. Only those of the United States can compare with 
them. They extend from the arctic of the north to the 
cotton and silk regions of the south, and from the Pacific on 
the east to the arms of the Atlantic on the west. Russia is 
potentially rich in electric and water power, and in the basic 
resources of coal, iron and oil 2 Experts estimate that the 

1 Statistics furnished by the Statistical Department of the Gosplan- for 
1930. Infant mortality has been reduced from 25 to 19 per cent. The 
annual rate of increase from 1897 to 1914 was but 1.8 per cent compared 
to 2.33 per cent at present. Russia, and especially Siberia, seems to* be 
one of the few countries that can increase its population for some gen- 
erations without reaching its optimum density. 

3 Surveys made for the Czarist government placed the coal reserves of 
the Empire at 465 billion metric tons. The International Geological Con- 
gress estimated the reserves of anthracite in the Donetz basin 'as the larg- 
est in the world ; over three times those of Britain and twice those of the 
United States. The Economic Organisation of the Soviet Union, Van- 
guard Press, p, 32, 


Soviet Union possesses 2,874 million tons or 3 S.I percent 
of the oil reserves of the world. 1 Her enormous forests are 
about equal to those of the United States and Canada com- 
bined. Her deposits of marganese, without doubt the most 
important In the world, are essential to the production of 
steel, chemicals, and electrical products. Copper, gold and 
platinum are found in large quantities but have not yet been 
adequately surveyed. 

Russia's 46,434 miles of railway, the second largest sys- 
tem in the world, are increasing at the rate of 1240 miles 
annually. In arable land the Soviet Union has 1,414,700,000 
acres as compared with 878,800,000 in the United States. 
In cultivated land the United States still stands first with 
293,800,000 acres, Russia second with 279,000,000 and 
India third with 264,900,000 acres. 2 If her present rate of 
increase is maintained for a decade the U. S. S. R. will be 
the largest producer and exporter of grain in the world. 
Typical of the new Russia is the Giant farm, where 500,000 
acres of the virgin soil of the prairie are being brought 
tinder cultivation with the aid of the most modern machin- 
ery in the largest single farm in the world. And it is con* 
stantly being enlarged like many of the other state farms. 

The imponderable elements in the situation seem to be 

1 Russia's reserves of iron ore of 1,647 million tons in the regions thus 
far surveyed can supply the country for several centuries. In the Urals 
there are whole mountains of iron ore and the Kursk region, recently 
investigated, seems to contain more than the balance of Europe's known 
deposits of 13,000 million tons. The U. S. S. R. and the World Economy, 
p. 139. 

9 The Economic Organisation of the Soviet Union, p. 34. 


more important than the material resources. Russia is a 
great laboratory of life. Here we have the largest country 
in the world attempting the boldest experiment in history. 
Here is a people daring to believe that there are more 
dynamic motivations than sordid private profit. As Stuart 
Chase says, the modern Russian "needs no further incentive 
than the burning zeal to create a new heaven and a new earth 
which flames in the breast of every good communist. It is 
something this flame that one has to- see to appreciate. 
There is nothing like it anywhere in America, probably noth- 
ing like it anywhere in the world today. One would have to 
go back to Cromwell, or Mahomet, or St. Paul. Will it last ? 
I do not know. All that I can report is that after ten years 
it still scorches the face of the curious onlooker. No com- 
munist in Russia is entitled to draw a salary greater than a 
bare living of $112 a month, with sometimes housing space 
provided. At any hour of the day or night a telegram may 
call him to an industrial post on the Pacific, on the Arctic, 
in a trackless desert. And he goes." * 

The experiment in Russia is not only of material but of 
deep social and psychological significance. Here is a body 
of men trying to build a new social order in every depart- 
ment of life. Among other things they seek new motiva- 
tions. From the time of the Manchester school of laisseg 
faire economics we have been told that men will only do their 
best work when they have the opportunity for almost un- 
limited personal profit, and that the motivation of individual 

* Soviet Russia in the Second Decade, p. 49. 


self-interest will best work out for the good of all. The 
actual situation in Russia, however, seems to provide a whole 
network of incentives which result in similar behavior reac- 
tions to the displaced profit motive. It should be remem- 
bered also that the motive of profit in western countries 
always applies to the management and shareholders, not to 
the mass of wage workers. The manager or worker in a 
Russian factory responds to no demand from hungry stock- 
holders, but there is the constant pressure of his government 
and his Party, the social approval of his group, the class 
consciousness of the whole body of workers not only in 
Russia but throughout the world. 

In the earlier and destructive phases of revolution there 
is the appeal to moral indignation, the demand for justice, 
the kindling of flaming hatred against wrong and oppression. 
There is the appeal to pugnacity, to the fighting instinct of 
the worker, to throw himself into what appears as a great 
moral conflict among the "shock troops" on some needy 
"front." There is the appeal to the will to power, especially 
to the common man who may be suffering from an inferi- 
ority complex. The movement may cater to the worker's 
vanity, to his sense of self-importance, to the recognition of 
his worth and personal dignity. Even more powerful is the 
constant appeal to the heroic, the sacrificial and the ascetic, 
though always under a new terminology. The dramatic and 
tragic elements in life are strongly played upon in the pro- 
fuse propaganda by which workers are roused to action. It 
seems to give them a feeling of elation and satisfaction to be 
fighting beside the downtrodden and long-suffering toilers 


against a whole capitalistic world of bourgeois nations, pic- 
tured in their wealth, luxury and greed as exploiting all the 
weaker peoples of the earth. Instead of personal gain, social 
acquisitiveness may be made a powerful motivation. A man 
will sacrifice for his family, perhaps he may for a wider 
group than we have yet discovered. Social competition, 
team play and sportsmanship may be as effective and far 
more socially beneficial than cutthroat, individual competi- 
tion. Then there is the herd motive, human gregariousness, 
the appeal to mutual aid and the limitless possibilities of 
cooperation, which other countries have so little explored. 
WelgiQjOKJ^^ what are thejwjsi- 

biliti& of^ cooperation ? 

When these basic motives are linked to high ethical and 
idealistic ends, even though they may disavow the orthodox 
conception of the ethical character of life and repudiate our 
terminology, when they nevertheless appeal to the highest 
humanitarian objectives, what psychological possibilities may 
they not unlock ? They do not ask what they consider to be 
an unnatural and arbitrary, heroic, individual unselfishness, 
but in a new and healthy environment under a state that 
plans to abolish all exploitation, there is supposed to be such 
an identity of interests that each will naturally seek the wel- 
fare of all in seeking his own. Furthermore, when inspired 
by hope, by daring optimism, by the will to live, by the 
promise of abundant life for all, for full self and social reali- 
zation, what tasks are too great, what obstacles are too diffi- 
cult to be overcome? And finally, in spite of a total change 
of vocabulary, when all these motives are bound up with the 


religious emotion, though they may loathe the very word, 
ivhen the fanatical faith, the focused dogmatism, the mis- 
sionary zeal and heroism of what is in fact, in many aspects, 
a burning religion, possess and inspire them and send 
them out to great deeds like the Moslem with his sword of 
Allah, what may they not hope to accomplish? 

It is in this spirit that their Constitution voices their aims : 
"The abolition of exploitation of men by men, the entire 
abolition of the division of the people into classes, the sup- 
pression of exploiters, the establishment of a socialist society 
and the victory of socialism in all lands." * 

Their avowed aim is to abolish all parasitic elements in 
society, eliminate all secret treaties, free from enslavement 
millions of laborers in Asia, the colonies and smaller nations, 
obtain self-determination for oppressed nationalities, provide 
a complete education free for all and the ultimate equality 
of all citizens regardless of race and nationality. They aim 
"to end the domination of capitalism, make war impossible, 
wipe out state boundaries, transform the whole world into 
a cooperative commonwealth, and bring about real human 
brotherhood and freedom." 2 When a country of such mag- 
nitude and power becomes harnessed to such an ideal the 
result is bound to be significant and far-reaching for the 

The significance of Russia is further enhanced by its 
uniqueness. Other countries are endeavoring slowly to 

1 Soviet Constitution, Article 3. 

"From the Manifesto of the Third Moscow International, and the 
Declaration of Rights of the Third All-Russian Soviet Congress, 


change, reform or alter little by little the structure of society. 
But here is a land whch is building a whole new social order: 
The plan contemplates, and with many colossal mistakes is 
actually realizing, a new government, a new industry, col- 
lective agriculture, a new education and culture, a new con- 
ception of morality and the home, the building of a new 
Russia and some day of a new world, however little the 
majority would care to live in such a world. There has 
never been another movement quite like it, for in many 
things it is "the first time in history" that such innovations 
have been attempted. 

The experiment is significant for the Russian people. To- 
gether with many lapses, delays and partial failures, the 
casual, lazy, fatalistic Slav seems to be showing signs of 
change in his very psychology into a titan of energy and 
practical achievement. It is significant for the nine-tenths 
of the population who belong to the newly awakened work- 
ing masses, and to the one-tenth who belong to the once- 
privileged classes and against whom the system is in open 

The Soviet Union is significant also in the matter of social 
theory. As between the three main types of capitalism, 
socialism and communism, the third is now on trial for the 
first time. This may be a valuable, even though costly, 
experiment. It may be well to have at least one country free 
to try new methods. Where they fail, as many do, there 
may be a lesson for the rest of the world, and when they 
succeed they may be of benefit to all, as for instance in the 


still open question as to how far jpjeji will respond to higher 
motives in life. 

The significance of Russia, however unwelcome it may 
be, will be no less if it proves to be a call to others to put 
their own house in order. If one country overcomes race 
prejudice, abolishes child labor, insures its unemployed or, 
even better, eliminates the periodic business cycle of over- 
production, financial crisis, and unemployment, it is bound 
to have an effect upon the rest of the world, quite apart from 
any propaganda of its own or that of noisy communists in 
other lands. Where their experiments fail they should be 
known and equally so when they succeed. - 

The need of understanding Russia is evidenced by the 
conflicting reports, wild rumors and propaganda in our press 
today. Very characteristic are the totally contradictory state- 
ments in the New York Times of two successive days. On 
November 22, 1930, we read of the reported assassination 
of Stalin and the mutiny of portions of the army. The 
Berlin correspondent of the London Daily Express tele- 
graphed additional reports which he claimed had evaded the 
censorship, as follows : 'The correspondent said the alleged 
mutiny of two Red Battalions near Moscow on Wednesday 
was confirmed by new dispatches today, and added that two 
other mutinies had occurred, one at Leningrad and another 
in the navy at Kronstadt, where officers and crew of the 
gunboat Vorkov were alleged to have been put in irons." 

Recent years have produced no more reliable foreign cor- 
respondent than Walter Duranty of the New York Times. 
The same night he replied to these reports, as follows: 


"Moscow Is calm, orderly, dull and unagitated even by 
rumor, much less by mutinies or assassinations. . , . There 
is not the faintest evidence of the preposterous alarms that 
have surpassed all the records of inventiveness for Riga or 
Berlin 'news sources 7 and of the credulity of the foreign 
press and public. . . . Our inventive colleagues abroad, 
however, seem to forget that unlike the years of 1919 or 
1920, when Riga could 'kill' Lenin or Trotsky or have them 
'arrest' each other with comfortable security and there would 
be nothing save an 'official denial' from Moscow, there now 
are in the Soviet capital a score or more of foreign embassies 
and legations wholly free from censorship, with the right to 
send coded telegrams and sealed mail pouches with diplo- 
matic immunity. . . . Many of these diplomats represent 
countries with scant sympathy for the Soviet and its works. 
Almost all of them have a personnel familiar with Russian 
conditions and the language, with friends and fellow- 
nationals in all strata of Russian life." * 

It would seem that after thirteen years of such wild re- 
ports and eager propaganda usually forwarded from obvi- 
ously suspicious "sources" of Riga and Berlin, we would 
'have less credulity. Our interest in Russia seems to be 
guided by emotion rather than by reason. There are reliable 
sources of information available for those who wish them 
in the invaluable reports of Walter Duranty to the New 
York Times, W. H. Chamberlin to the Christian Science 
Monitor, Louis Fischer to the Nation, and in books like 

1 New York Times, November 23, 1930. 


Maurice Hindus' Humanity Uprooted. Others will prefer 
the almost daily reports of mutinies and revolutions from 

Concerning the significance of the Russian experiment 
the conservative professor of economics of Duke University, 
Calvin B. Hoover, after long study in Russia as Fellow of 
the Social Science Research Council writes : * World opinion 
remains either uninformed or misinformed about the prog- 
ress of the greatest economic and social experiment in human 
history. It is not too much to say that the history of the 
world for the next fifty years, and perhaps for a much longer 
period, depends upon the result of events in the Soviet Union 
during the present year. . . . When the standard of living 
of the Soviet worker reaches a point where it is somewhat 
above that of the poorest paid half of the workers of West- 
ern Europe, the full significance of the results of the experi- 
ment in Soviet Russia will become apparent. . . . Repres- 
sion of the handful of Communists in the United States, 
stricter laws against Communist propaganda, police action 

against Communist agitators at the present time are futile 

i f\ 
and ill-advised, ,( A recognition of the very real achievements 

oT the Soviet system and a determination to adapt such ex- 
perimental data as have been developed in Russia to the 
needs of our own country is all important . . . If bourgeois 
civilization is capable of learning from the social and eco- 
nomic experience of Soviet Russia, then the Russian Revo- 
lution will have been as real a contribution to human progress 
as was the French Revolution. . . . Unless the capitalistic 
order can find ways and means to improve very measurably 


the standard of living of its lowest classes of laborers, and 
at the same time to reconcile the economic rivalries between 
nations, a militant and fanatic Russian Communism will be 
hammering at the gates of Berlin by the end of the present 
decade." x 

We need not be blind to the obvious fact that there is no 
situation where our judgment is more likely to be affected 
by the personal equation. Those who want to see the experi- 
ment fail, or who are determined, as many are, that a work- 
ingmen's government shall not succeed, will find plenty of 
evidence to their liking. Russia is full of dark facts today, 
economic, political and social. But they represent only one 
side of the picture. The poverty and seeming hopelessness 
at Valley Forge was no evidence of the final failure of the 
American Revolution. Sons and daughters of a country 
that was born of revolution should have no necessary ante- 
cedent prejudice against another land in far greater travail, 
however much its methods may differ from our own. Where 
we find menace we shall oppose it, where we find evils we 
shall condemn them, where we find values we shall admit 
them. All are significant and all constitute The Challenge of 

1 Harper's, October, 1930, p. 598. 



Three principal social and economic systems are found in 
the world today capitalism, communism and socialism. 
Capitalism maintains the private ownership of the means of 
production under a system of open competition and indi- 
vidual initiative for private profit, with a minimum of gov- 
ernment interference. Communism, at the other extreme, 
represents the state ownership and control of all the means 
of production, distribution and exchange, under a dictator- 
ship of the proletariat, or working class. Socialism, midway 
between, commonly aims at the gradual socialization of the 
principal means of production, by consent rather than by 
compulsion, by constitutional, parliamentary action, through 
constructive evolutionary processes rather than by sudden, 
violent revolution. I No one of the three systems is found in 
pure, unmixed form. Capitalism is constantly modified by 
social control; communism has been forced temporarily to 
compromise by the capitalistic world, while the process of 
socialization proceeds but slowly in capitalistic countries. 

Let us begin with an examination of communism in theory 
and in practice as it is found in Soviet Russia today. Com- 
munism is at once a philosophy, a method and an organiza- 
tion. As a philosophy it seeks to build a new social order, 
or classless society, as the result of the abolition of private 



property and the common ownership of all means of produc- 
tion and distribution. As a method it believes this end can 
be realized only by a complete social revolution under a dic- 
tatorship of the working class. 1 As a party organization it 
seeks progressively to realize its philosophy by means of a 
continuing revolution, through a Soviet Government in one 
country, and through its Comintern, or Third International, 
by the same revolutionary means in all lands, until its new 
social order shall be established throughout the world. 

There had been Utopian dreams of a new social order 
from the days of Plato's communistic Republic, the prophets 
of Israel, and the early Christian Church in Jerusalem, which 
had "all things common" in voluntary sharing. 2 From the 
dawn of history there had been piecemeal revolutions, 
whether political, economic, social or religious. But never 
before on a vast scale had there been attempted or realized 
a complete revolution for the entire transformation of the 
whole of life. When the largest country in the world, em- 
bracing nearly one-sixth of the habitable land area of the 
globe, attempts the boldest experiment in history, something 
tremendous is bound to happen, whether for good or evil, 
or, more probably, for both good and evil. And when such 
a thing occurs, which is bound to have consequences both 
wide and deep, we would do well to try to understand it as 
objectively and dispassionately as we can. Yet we must 
remember that complete objectivity and freedom from all 

1 See the excellent definition in Communism, by H. J. Laski, p. 11, to 
which we are indebted. 
Acts 2:44-47, 4:32-35. 


antecedent prejudice or passion is difficult in dealing with a 
situation which, both in theory and practice, roots down into 
the deepest principles and most pressing problems of human 
life, involving political, economic, social, religious and moral 
issues which are vital to us all. When any system touches 
and proposes radically to change ideas or practices that con- 
cern the individual and society, private property, civil liber- 
ties, the home and school, church and state, religion and 
morality, it produces in the minds of most an emotional 
reaction so strong that it tends to becloud the calm judgment 
without which we cannot rightly interpret communism, capi- 
talism or any other social theory or practice. 

Let us try as impartially as we can to understand just 
what Russia is trying to do, estimate the present results of 
the system, and then seek to evaluate their significance for 
the future. 

After a thousand years of despotic autocracy, and some 
four centuries of Czarism, the revolting intellectual leaders 
of Russia saw what seemed to them to be the failure of the 
system of capitalism, imperialism, militarism and recurring 
wars in the world in general and in Russia in particular. 
Side by side they saw the few rich landlords and the often 
landless peasants toiling in bitter poverty. They saw the 
means of production, private property, profit and power con- 
centrated in the hands of the relatively few, while the masses 
both in industry and peasant agriculture were dependent 
upon them with little security of life, often in widespread 
poverty and want, under needlessly cruel social injustice. 
The result was a society divided between rich and poor, and 


a world torn asunder between competing classes, races and 
nations, a world in chronic, latent strife, which had broken 
into overt war forty times during the last century and which 
held the promise of yet more bitter conflict in the century 
to come. These Russian leaders believed that the root evil 
of the whole system was private property, appealing to the 
greed of selfish individualism and mutually antagonistic 
classes, resulting inevitably in class conflict, as well as 
national and imperialistic wars. 

In place of this system they conceived another, in complete 
antithesis to the old order, differing in aim, in method and 
in motivation. Their aim was the abolition of all exploita- 
tion of man by man through the private ownership and con- 
trol of the means of livelihood, and the substitution of the 
good life for all, upon an equal basis of social justice. Their 
method was the complete overthrow of the old, unjust social 
order by the only means that they believed was left to them, 
as every other had been tried and had seemed to fail the 
same that had been used by the colonists in America in 1776, 
and by the French against the Bourbon autocracy in 1789, 
the method of revolution. The instrument was the only class 
that had not failed them and which they believed they could 
trust, the long exploited and suffering workers. Their 
motive was to be, riot private profit for selfish, individual 
gain, but public service for the common good. 

But could this vast transition be affected in a world of 
greed, of strife and injustice so deep-rooted that it seemed 
ingrained in human nature itself? They believed that it 
could. And it was their daring innovation, in almost un- 


precedented faith in human nature, that, not in the dreams 
of Plato's Republic, Bacon's Atlantis or Thomas More's 
Utopia, nor in a small, homogeneous community of the 
Greek city-state or the early church, but in the largest and 
most diverse country in the world this experiment should be 
actually undertaken. Russia is unique in that for the first 
time in history on a vast scale this boldest experiment was 
tried under what seemed impossible circumstances, in the 
face of titanic obstacles, in what seemed the least favorable 
land, and against the opposition of almost the entire world. 
Let us note, however, that, relative to the rest of the world 
under another social order, an essential and inescapable con- 
tradiction lies at the very center and heart of the whole sys- 
tem. The communist philosophy seeks a new order, a class- 
less society of unbroken brotherhood, what the Hebrew 
prophets would have called a reign of righteousness on earth. 
But these high humanitarian ends it seeks by the means of a 
class dictatorship and by all necessary use of force. It 
abandons the method of consent, as the costly and priceless 
acquirement of slow centuries of political progress, for the 
more primitive method of coercion. It turns back from the 
achievement of law to primal force, from the disciplines of 
liberty to earlier and easier autocracy. It seeks justice if 
necessary by violence, whether supported by a majority or 
a minority. Once this precedent of force is established, it 
may easily, or possibly inevitably, become a habit. Dictator- 
ships tend to perpetuate themselves and to require a growing 
rather than a lessening compulsion. Here then at the center 
and source we find the cause which makes Russia not only 


the land of limitless possibilities but also of 'limitless con- 
tradictions" as well. These contradictions permeate almost 
the entire system high humanitarian aims realised if neces- 
sary by ruthless means. 

Hence we find in Russia the most glaring contrasts and 
the most unbelievable contradictions, the most audacious 
plans and achievements of social welfare for the masses, 
side by side with the most unfeeling infliction of pain, priva- 
tion, punishment or persecution upon individuals; the most 
generous sharing of every privilege with their class com- 
rades, the most ruthless treatment of those whom they count 
their class enemies. This is due first of all to the Marxian 
theory of revolution, but also in part to the character of the 
Russian people. Russia had never known true liberty. She 
has always been governed by an autocracy, whether Czarist 
or communist. Liberty and democracy were both lightly 
counted as mere "bourgeois prejudices." There is more- 
over a strain not only of rugged realism but often of cruelty 
which runs through all Russian and Tartar blood. The re- 
peated massacres of the Jews fomented by the church and 
state under the old order find their counterpart in the colder 
and more calculated cruelty of the new regime toward their 
class enemies, though strangely enough they seem for the 
most part quite unaware of this cruelty. 

To answer intelligently the question What is communism ? 
we must remind ourselves of its theory as propounded by 
Marx and of the stages through which it has already passed 
in Russia, The theory is all the more important when we 
remember that no other philosophy of life was ever so 


quickly and completely embodied in a new social order upon 
such a vast scale. 

Karl Marx (1818-1883), the son of a Jewish jurist and 
grandson of a German Rabbi, received from his teacher, 
Hegel, his dialectic method which held that change takes 
place through the struggle of antagonistic elements, resolved 
into a higher synthesis. According to Professor Laski, "his 
social system may be resolved into a philosophy of history, a 
theory of social development, a tactic for its accomplishment 
and an economic theory upon which to base the justification 
for this transformation. 1 

His philosophy is based upon the materialist or economic 
interpretation of history, which holds that the principal in- 
fluence which shapes the progress of society is the system of 
economic production, or the way men make their living. 
This chiefly molds their political, social, intellectual, relig- 
ious and moral relationships. 2 Therefore, he maintains that 
those who control the means of production largely dominate 
the life of the dependent masses. Society becomes divided 
into possessors and the dispossessed,, and the natural and 
inevitable antagonism between the two creates the class war 
which becomes the chief instrument of social development. 
The tactic for its accomplishment is found in the develop- 
ment of the trade unions which are the product of the class 

1 See Communism by H, J. Laski, p. 25 ; and a History of Socialist 
Thought, by H. W. Laidler, p. 199, 

*"The mode of production in material life determines the general 
character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life/* Marx, 
Critique of Political Economy, p. 11. 


struggle. Marx maintains that history shows that the pos- 
sessing class, whether under slavery, feudalism, or capital- 
ism, will never voluntarily surrender its power; therefore, 
the organized workers must seize the state and establish a 
temporary dictatorship as the only possible means of accom- 
plishing the transition from a capitalist to a communist 

Marx then develops his economic theory on which to base 
his justification for this necessity. He accepts the classic 
economic theory of his day from Ricardo that value is the 
product of labor. He tries to show that as labor produces 
more than it receives, it is robbed by the capitalist of the full 
value it produces and receives only the lowest piarket price, 
while all the surplus goes to the employer. 

His labor theory of value and of surplus value are not 
deemed adequate in scientific theory today, apart from his 
own followers, but the character and results of his work are 
not radically affected by this fact. Marx was a great sociol- 
ogist rather than a modern scientific economist Like New- 
ton or Darwin in their fields, Marx was a pathfinder in his. 
The theories of each of these pioneers must be corrected by 
more recent scientific experiment, but few men have influ- 
enced the course of history in succeeding generations more 
than Marx. 

Marxian theories found their classic expression in the 
Communist Manifesto issued by Marx and Engels in the 
revolutionary year, 1848. He maintains that the growing 
poverty of the workers, and the Increasing concentration of 


capital in the hands of a few hasten the class war and secure 
the "death-knell of capitalist private property." 1 

Marx conceived his system as an almost complete philoso- 
phy of life both as a theory and a plan of action worked out 
in detail in his embittered poverty, chiefly during his thirty 
years of exile in London. It was the part of Lenin and the 
majority of his cabinet who had spent twenty years in prison, 
in poverty and exile, concretely to apply and adapt this 
theory to the life of an entire nation in Russia. The whole 
movement became practically the materialistic religion of the 
embittered and aroused working class. It took the place of 
the solace of an other-worldly religion which Marx main- 
tained had become the drug or soporific opiate of the people, 
Of this new substitute for the old religion the writings of 
Marx became, as it were, the Old Testament, the thirty 
volumes of Lenin became the canonical New Testament |iow 
in process of translation into thirty-five languages by the 
Third International,) while Stalin is now writing in deeds 
rather than in words the orthodox epistles of the new faith. 

The principles and policies of Marx and Lenin have given 
a kind of classic basis and orthodox norm to the new move- 
ment, but one of its most notable characteristics has been 
its continuous change and its quick and constant adapta- 

1 Marx writes : "Concentration of the means of production and sociali- 
zation of labor finally reach a point where they become incompatible with 
their capitalist integument. Their integument is burst asunder . . . 
The expropriators are expropriated." He was a Jewish prophet of social 
righteousness who roused the workers to a sense of their wrongs and 
united them into a militant body by giying them an artificially simplified 
practical philosophy and a plan of campaign to win their freedom* 


tion to the circumstances of a rapidly altering environment. 
Probably no government in the world in the last dozen years 
has made so many colossal experiments or so many mis- 
takes; none has confessed to so many failures and defects; 
none has been so quick to adapt itself to changing conditions. 
To understand communism today we must not only con- 
stantly remember its social philosophy as worked out by 
Marx, but the stages through which it has passed or which 
it is destined to enter : 

1. WAR COMMUNISM, 1917-1921 

Following a thousand years of autocratic despotism, the 
intolerable government of Russia was overthrown after well- 
nigh a century of revolutionary struggle, dating from the 
December revolt of 1828. A blind bureaucracy had op- 
posed all reforms, suppressed or crushed its conquered na- 
tionalities, minorities and sects, dissolved or treated with 
contempt its Duma, outlawed trade unions and put down 
peasant revolts and industrial strikes with bloodshed. ' Two 
hundred thousand landlords owned more than a quarter of 
all the arable land of Russia while sixteen million peasant 
households lived in miserable poverty. Over 60 per cent 
of the people were left in illiteracy. The spy and police sys- 
tem both in state and church had developed into "a vast 
secret society which permeated and poisoned the whole of 
Russian social life." 

In the World War Russia suffered more than any other 
great nation. Of over 15,000,000 called to the colors, 
1,700,000 fell among the battle dead, and a total of over 


3,000,000 died of wounds, disease, neglect and starvation. 


Betrayed by their corrupt leaders, left often without muni- 
tions and supplies, the morale of the trt>ops at the front was 
finally broken, and the hungry mobs in Petrograd rose in 
bread riots, only to be shot down by the troops. The sol- 
diers poured back from the front demanding bread, land 
and peace. On March 12, 1917, the first revolution broke 
out in Russia, and the Czar Nicholas II abdicated. A pro- 
visional Government under Prince Lvoff was set up by the 
Duma, followed by a new cabinet under Alexander Keren- 
sky. Kerensky's oratory could not stay the retreating 
troops, and Russia was drifting rapidly into chaos. Only 
one party knew just what it wanted and had the clarity and 
courage to give the disillusioned masses the three things 
they demanded bread, land and peace. That was the Bol- 
shevik or majority wing of the Marxian Social Democratic 
Labor Party. 

On November 7, 1917, the second, pr Russian Workers' 
Revolution occurred, when by what was at first an almost 
bloodless struggle, the Petrograd Soviet seized the govern- 
ment authority and handed it over next day to the All-Rus- 
sian Congress of Soviets. 1 

For three years the government tried to bring order out 
of chaos. Workers took over factories without the consent 
of the central government and made a dismal failure in their 
inexperienced and undisciplined ignorance. The govern- 
ment was forced to centralize and assume authority faster 

1 According to their calendar it is called the "October Revolution." 


than it wished, and during this period of military commun- 
ism the state tried to organize almost the whole life of the 
people on a communal basis. This bold experiment was tried 
and it failed. For three years private shops were closed and 
buying and selling often gave place to barter. The disor- 
ganized factories could not produce the necessary supplies 
for the hungry population, and industrial production fell to 
some seventeen per cent of its pre-war maximum. 

The peasants' entire surplus of grain was forcibly taken 
by the state to support the army and industrial workers. A 
flood of paper money debased the now worthless currency. 
The country was exhausted by war and impoverished by a 
world blockade. It suffered from intervention and invasion 
and had to fight in turn against the Germans and Austrians, 
the British, French, Japanese, Czecho-Slovaks, Poles, Finns, 
Greeks and Roumanians. Even an American army invaded 
their territory. The white armies of Deniken, Kolchak, 
Yudenich, Semenoff, Wrangel, Petlura and the Cossacks 
were not only fighting but often perpetrating atrocities upon 
the inhabitants, so that at one time the Soviets were engaged 
on a dozen fronts. After six years of strife following 1914, 
exhausted by both war and revolution, swept by terrible epi- 
demics and the famine of 1921 during which some three mil- 
lions perished, Russia finally collapsed in sheer exhaustion. 
Peasant uprisings began to increase and the area cultivated 
was reduced to half what it had been before the war. The 
peasant uprising in the province of Tambov and the revolt 
in the fortress of Cronstadt showed the handwriting on the 
wall. War communism in the midst of chaos and with the 


world against them had failed. Lenin saw their failure, 
confessed it, and threw his entire weight into a right about 
face and call for a temporary strategic retreat. Not for a 
moment were the principles of future program abandoned 
but they were forced to compromise for the time being in 
the state capitalism of the New Economic Policy. 1 


This was a temporary compromise between state capital- 
ism and private capitalism. The state ran the principal in- 
dustries for profit, while it permitted private trading and 
industrial enterprise side by side in open competition. This 
was the period of peaceful economic rehabilitation and the 
slow and painful restoration of depleted industry and agri- 
culture to their pre-war productivity. The New Economic 
Policy included a definite food tax in place of the requisition 
of the peasants' surplus grain, freedom of trade within Rus- 
sia, the revival of small capitalist production and of banks 
and shops on a profit-making basis, the concentration of state 

x ln Isvestia, August 11, 1921, Lenin frankly said: "We can only con- 
tinue to exist by making an appeal to the peasants . . . The role of the 
proletariat in such a situation is to supervise' and guide these small 
farmers in their transition to socialized, collective, communal labor . . 
Teti years at least, and, in view of our present ruin, probably more will 
be required for this transition . . . We must decide which of two 
policies we shall choose. Either we forbid absolutely every private 
exchange of goods or we take the trouble to make it a state capitalism 
. . . State capitalism is a step forward toward the destruction of the 
small bourgeois attitude . . . The kernel of the situation is that one 
must find a means of directing the evolution of capitalism in the bed of 
state, capitalism so as to insure the transition of state capitalism into 


control to the more important nationalized industries, the 
institution of a State Bank and the encouragement of the 
Cooperative Societies which had been temporarily absorbed 
by the state. Although state capitalism and private capital- 
ism were allowed to exist side by side and to compete, the 
government threw its whole weight on the side of the state 
industries which steadily waxed while private trade waned 
until today not only the whole of foreign trade, which has 
always been a government monopoly, but almost all indus- 
trial production, as well as internal wholesale and retail 
trade, is in the hands of government or the Cooperative So- 
cieties. Once industry and agriculture were reestablished, 
the government was ready for the present advance which is 
a return to Lenin's original policy of the complete socializa- 
tion and mechanization of industry and agriculture, the gov- 
ernment development of electric power and an advance from 
state and private capitalism toward their permanent policy 
of state socialism. 


This marks the third stage of the revolution in the re- 
construction of the country's productive life on a new tech- 
nical basis. More than a decade ago the revolution began 
in the cities, in government and industry; at last it has 
reached the villages. At first the Soviet Government en- 
deavored to socialize the three million workers in industry, 
today it plans to embrace the more than one hundred and 
thirty million of the peasant population engaged in agricul- 


The plans for this great advance are almost as daring and 
far-reaching as those inaugurated by Lenin in 1917. Prob- 
ably no other country ever deliberately launched such an am- 
bitious plan for its economic development within a period 
of five years. It is difficult to grasp the magnitude of the 
task. The average size farm among the 26 million peasant 
holdings in 1928 was but twelve acres. Productivity was 
low and methods antiquated. The conservative peasant 
plowed with his iron-shod pointed stick, reaped with his 
sickle and threshed with his hand flail. The casual Slav was 
lazy and unbusinesslike. Industry was backward and poorly 
equipped. The average worker in Russia was producing 164 
tons of coal while the American miner produced 715 tons. 
While the Russian worker produced 218 tons of pig iron, 
the American turned out 1270 tons, or six times as much. 1 
The same was true in cotton spinning, beet sugar and most 
other industries. With backward agriculture and industry, 
the undisciplined Slavic temperament, without adequate capi- 
tal or foreign loans and with wellnigh the whole world 
against them, how could Russia industrialize, socialize, 
mechanize and rationalize her entire economy within five 
years? Yet this is the titanic task to which she has set 

The Gosplan or State Planning Commission, following 
out Lenin's original scheme for widespread electrification 
under a "planned economy/' prepared a preliminary draft 
of the scheme, which when revised and corrected was to run 

1 Stalin's address at the opening of the Sixteenth Congress of the 
Communist Party, Isvestia, July 11, 1930. 


from October 1, 1928, to September 30, 1933. Every 
branch of national economy was covered in industry, agri- 
culture, transportation, building, etc., in the most audacious 
economic program ever conceived, and it was to be applied 
in detail, with annually revised "control figures." The plan 
was worked out and charted for each industry and each fac- 
tory so that every year the exact measure of its success or 
failure could be verified, and the workers of each factory 
or collective farm could be roused to enthusiasm to reach 
their goal, or beat their record, or those of surrounding or 
competing institutions. 

When Stalin faced the economic problem of Russia in 
1927 over 95 per cent of the land was retained by individual 
peasants. Of these 3.3 were rich peasants, or kulaks, 66.4 
were graded as "middle" peasants, and 30.3 per cent poor 
peasants. 1 

Broadly, one of two policies had to be adopted. The gov- 
ernment might encourage production on small scale individ- 
ual farms and run the risk of facing a future individualistic 
and capitalistic peasant class of 130 millions, or over 80 
per cent of the population, completely out of harmony with 
Soviet social aims ; or, at the risk of killing the goose that 
laid the golden egg for Russia's export of grain, it might 
rapidly socialize agriculture as it had already socialized in- 
dustry. It chose the latter course. Trotzky had proposed 
a solution of the agrarian crisis by intensive collectivization 
and the suppression of the rich peasants. The Communist 

1 Russia's Agrarian Problem, Foreign Policy Association, p. 191; Piate- 
letnii Plan, Vol. II, Part I, p. 271. 


party rejected the solution as at that time premature. But 
early in 1930 under Stalin's leadership the government 
launched a movement for "complete collectivization" and the 
"liquidation or abolition of the kulaks as a class." 

The word kulak, literally fist, means an exploiter; one who 
gains not by his own labor, but by hiring and exploiting the 
labor of others, loaning money, buying crops and renting 
machinery, thus endeavoring to monopolize the profit that 
all should share. Many such had acquired the land of poorer 
peasants and had enriched themselves at their expense. But 
there were many who by superior intelligence, initiative and 
effort were merely prosperous. The whole system has little 
regard for the individual and many of these as well as the 
exploiters had their property confiscated and were despoiled 
or deported. Over-zealous local authorities sometimes ruth- 
lessly carried out the program of almost forcible collectivi- 
zation. This produced the indignant opposition not only of 
the rich but of many of the middle peasants and occasioned 
not only violent protest but almost civil war in some dis- 
tricts. Stalin in March, 1930, called a halt to this over-rapid 
and at times forcible collectivization. Nevertheless the 
movement is so bold and sweeping that it marks broadly, 
for the first time in history, a turning on a vast scale from a 
capitalist to a socialist system in agriculture. Whether it be 
wise or unwise, what other country ever contemplated the 
practical suppression of all exploiters ? 

The five year program had counted upon some 22 per cent 
of the peasant population being collectivized. But by June, 
1930, already 24.5 per cent, some six million households, or 



one quarter of the entire peasant population, had been gath- 
ered into collectives, while of the spring sowing for 1930, 
37 per cent was in collective as opposed to individual farms. 
Thus the "socialized sector" is being steadily increased at 
the expense of the private sector. 

It is not for a moment to be supposed that this vast transi- 
tion and metamorphosis of the whole of government, indus- 
try, agriculture, and even of the very psychology of the Rus- 
sian peasant, is being accomplished without great hardship 
and suffering to multitudes, nor without privation and injus- 
tice to many. The government has staked everything on this 
five-year program to increase the production of agriculture 
by more than one-half and of heavy industry more than 
threefold. It has "liquidated" or wiped out the rich and 
prosperous peasant, with the loss of income from his taxes 
and his surplus grain for export, and taxed the prosperous 
Nep man, trader and profiteer almost out of existence. It 
has honestly sought, not the greatest amount of profit or 
comfort for the masses at the moment, but, from their point 
of view, a socially right system which will yield the greatest 
good to the greatest number in the long run. 

To accomplish this program at all costs it must have the 
necessary machinery, the raw materials and the experts from 
abroad to enable it to carry out the whole project. But all 
this must be paid for and their credit maintained. Since 
there is little gold in the country, and since they are unwilling 
to touch the priceless jewels and art treasures of the old 
regime, they can only pay by the export of goods and grain. 
Cutting down to the bone and denying themselves all luxur- 


ies they calculate just how much they require to feed and 
clothe their population. This ration would be barely suffi- 
cient with an ideal system of transportation and exchange. 
But nothing is ideal, especially in Russia, old or new. With 
faulty exchange and distribution the pinch is felt by certain 
portions of the population, and strangely, nowhere more than 
in Moscow, the most overcrowded city in the world. They 
are straining every nerve to treble their "heavy industry," 
i.e. all that is needed for future production in electric power, 
coal, iron, steel, oil, machinery, etc. They do not care half 
so much about the light industry for the comfort of the peo- 
ple, including clothing, shoes, and a hundred articles that 
would be considered the luxuries, necessities and even the 
decencies of life in western countries. But to their honor be 
it said, they count no price too great, no sacrifice too severe 
to enable them to accomplish their objective. Through the 
press, by speeches, parades, meetings and celebrations, by 
their own skilful and effective motion picture films, which 
are not commercialized for the profit of a few, but always 
made to serve a great social end, through the Party, the trade 
unions and the youth movement the effort is made, and with 
amazing success, to enthuse labor and to keep them at con- 
cert pitch in a kind of sustained wartime heroism and spirit 
of sacrifice. By social competition, pitting themselves 
against themselves, against the goals of the plan, factory 
against factory, plying them with many motives that may be 
as effective as private profit, they maintain this terrific na- 
tional drive. And this at the cost of the inconvenience or 
privation of the majority, yet sustained by the enthusiasm 


of labor. At their powerful motion pictures you see the 
audience moved not by wild- west adventure or love romance 
but by the triumph of tractors, giant farms, factories and 
railways. They are thrilled because these things are their 

Bread is relatively plentiful and cheap at the government 
stores, but they are short of almost all other supplies of food- 
stuffs and clothing. The result is long lines or queues of pa- 
tiently waiting people for the daily, insufficient supply of 
most necessities. They are short of meats, fats, butter, eggs, 
milk, sugar almost everything. But are they downhearted ? 
^No more than the British army driven back in retreat before 
the Germans. No more than the American colonists at Val- 
ley Forge. Russia in fact is at her Valley Forge even now. 
She has been there ever since 1917 and she will know the 
present privation for several years yet to come. The hardy 
peasant today roars his complaints, which he never dared to 
voice against the Czarist terror. But he would fight again, 
and even more fiercely, on behalf of the present government 
if another fatal intervention or invasion were ever attempted. 
With all the hardships and failures and often hating the 
changes and improvements he is forced to make, he knows 
that he is better off than he ever was before. Moreover, he 

* ,^A ***" 

is the most long-suffering peasant that ever wasj outside the 
fatalistic followers of Islam. It took over a hundred years 
to rouse him even to his first Revolution. 

The government whose downfall was confidently prophe- 
sied almost every two weeks for a long time after it was 
founded over thirteen years ago was never so strong as it is 


today. While it is to be hoped that its evils may be cor- 
rected, with those of other lands as well, economically it is 
succeeding, and will succeed, in the judgment of a majority 
of the economic experts, at least of those who are not de- 
termined that a workingman's government shall not and 
must not succeed. 

The man who is directing this vast transition is Joseph 
V. Stalin. Like Marx and Lenin before him he had long 
suffered for his convictions. After the age of nineteen he 
was exiled to Siberia six times by the government of the 
Czars. Five times he escaped. Finally he was deported 
in 1913 and remained in exile until the first Revolution. Be- 
fore his death Lenin had pronounced Stalin "crude and nar- 
row-minded." Yet he succeeded in stopping Trotzky's 
mouth, expelling his three rivals on the left and subjugating 
the three on the right of the Party. He is not, however, a 
one-man autocratic dictator. He and Mussolini are each a 
parliament in themselves. They hear the aspirations and 
demands of the multitude. They believe they know in ad- 
vance just what the people need, just how much they will 
bear, and what policies will succeed. Stalin leads but in 
such a way as to keep the backing of the majority in each ex- 
ecutive committee and legislative body. It is better for the 
prosperity of Russia and the peace of the rest of the world 
that Stalin should lead, rather than the far more brilliant 
and dangerous Trotzky. Stalin rules, not as did Lenin by 
a great personality, but by his sagacity, his honesty, his 
rugged courage, his indomitable will and titanic energy, as 
well as by force. A mountaineer peasant, a somewhat ruth* 


less Georgian Asiatic, Stalin drives his machine like a giant 
tractor or steam roller. He pushes irresistibly forward in 
the great process of socialization, collectivization, rationali- 
zation. When too many are crushed by the great machine 
and the outcry of those who suffer becomes too great, he puts 
on the brakes or even backs up for a little, only to drive for- 
ward again in the irresistible process of socialization which 
he wholeheartedly believes will mean so much for the final 
well-being of the Russian masses and of the world. 

In his interview with Walter Duranty of the New York 
Times 1 Stalin, as a man of deeds rather than words, was true 
to his own theory and practice when he said : "Propaganda 
doesn't do anything. Constitutions and systems are changed 
by natural causes not by talk or books. In the old days the 
Czars blamed the French or German socialists for importing 
socialism into Russia, forgetting that the conditions of life 
and not the socialist propaganda determine the course of 
events. Now I suppose they are making the same mistake 
in the United States when they say we are re-exporting so- 
cialism to Europe." Like Marx and Lenin before him Stalin 
will live and die a poor man. With prodigious toil and 
through much hardship he seeks the uplift of the long-ex- 
ploited masses. He may fail or he may succeed. But if, 
after ten thousand years of competitive strife, of endless 
wars and the scramble for private gain, one vast land could 
really be socialized and learn the life of cooperative sharing, 
its possible significance for human life can hardly be imag- 
ined. Its ideal ends may be more important than its ruthless 

"Reported December 1, 1930. 


methods. Its methods may be modified, for the Russians are 
great realists, but Its ends will doubtless endure. 

We have briefly traced the three stages in the development 
of the movement in Russia through war communism, the 
New Economic Policy, and the present drive toward sociali- 
zation. According to their theory two stages yet remain. 
The present compromise, or mixture of state capitalism and 
private capitalism, must give place to thoroughgoing state 
socialism. Then the state will own and control every- 
thing except the life and limited personal property of its citi- 
zens. But this is not the final stage. State socialism is to 
give place, according to both Marx and Lenin, to pure com- 
munism. Then the state will no longer be needed to make 
and enforce laws or compel obedience, but it will "wither 
away" and cease to be. Communism, which Lenin often 
used interchangeably with socialism, is simply completed so- 
cialism. Lenin writes: a Only in communist society . . . 
when there are no longer any classes . . . only then does the 
state disappear, and can one speak of freedom. . . . Only 
then will democracy itself begin to wither away by virtue of 
the simple fact that, freed from capitalist slavery . . . peo- 
ple will gradually become accustomed to the observance of 
the elementary rules of social life. They will become accus- 
tomed to their observance without force, without constraint, 
without subjection, without the special apparatus of compul- 
sion which is called the State/' 1 

In the glowing future new generations trained from their 
youth up in socialized cooperative habits will be expected to 

1 The State and Revolution. See also Liberty Under the Soviets, p. 20. 


do right because they desire to do so. A reconditioned and 
re-educated humanity will build a new earth, if not a new 
heaven. In their dream industrial workers will eagerly 
share with the peasants, and the farmers with the city work- 
ers. They expect to achieve this classless society where man 
shall no longer exploit his fellow man, but will rejoice to 
share all with all. The unshaken faith of the communist in 
this miraculous future is not wholly unlike the millenial faith 
of the literalist, fundamentalist religionist. Both have the 
advantage, as well as the disadvantage of the sharp cutting 
edge of a narrow dogmatism. In the meantime with bound- 
less energy the communist seeks to make his dreams come 
true by translating them into action and embodying them in 
organization. For good or evil he is making history faster 
than he can write it. 

We have tried to answer the question What is commun- 
ism?, tracing it from its Marxian theory and philosophy, 
through its practice as it was embodied by Lenin and Stalin 
in the Russian Soviet State, and through the successive 
stages of its development. Reserving until later our evalua- 
tion of the system and the criticisms and indictments which 
we must bring against it, let us now inquire as to the signifi- 
cance of the Russian experiment, and how it is working in 
agriculture, in industry, in the trade unions of the labor 
movement, in the cooperative organizations, in its cultural 
activities, in the spheres of education, art, religion and mor- 
ality, as well as in its political organizations of the Com- 
munist Party, the Soviet Government and the Third Interna- 



The most important issue in Russia today is the five year 
plan which aims at the trebling of production in heavy 
industry and the collectivization of agriculture. With 82 
per cent of its population rural, much of Russia, as one vast, 
almost unbroken, alluvial plain, must stand or fall by its 
agriculture. The present agrarian revolution may have a 
significance and magnitude second only to the great indus- 
trial revolution of the eighteenth century. It is probably the 
most thoroughgoing agrarian upheaval in history. The 
significance of the present movement can only be understood 
in the light of the past history of the country. 

More than a century of Tartar rule had isolated Russia 
and left it the most backward country in Europe. It had 
helped to fasten autocracy and serfdom upon the country; 
it had left the masses in bondage and the officials in habits 
of oriental corruption. The conquests achieved by Ivan the 
Terrible and Peter the Great, both of whom had murdered 
their own sons, had crushed a multitude of non-Russian 
peoples and peasantry. In 1675 the serfs were reduced well- 
nigh to slavery and could be sold apart from the land. The 
landowners held practically the power of life and death over 
the serfs who were mercilessly whipped into submission. 
The vast peasant uprisings of 1667 and 1773, with their 



massacres of landlords and officials, were only typical of a 
long line of revolts caused by desperation and poverty. As 
late as 1861 Alexander II liberated nearly eleven million 
serfs owned by the Czar or the state, and an equal number 
belonging to private owners. 

The peasants were allotted the worst land, for which they 
were forced to pay more than it was worth, and in addition 
were saddled with the heaviest burden of taxes. 1 The land 
for the most part belonged not to individual peasants, but 
to the village community as a whole, called the mir, which 
periodically redistributed it in small widely separated strips, 
in a hopeless fragmentation of land under a system that 
provided no incentive for improvement and was fatal to 
progressive farming. By the time of the Revolution in 
1917, 200,000 landlords owned over a quarter of the arable 
land in European Russia and were prevailingly looked upon 
with hatred by the 16,000,000 land-hungry peasant house- 
holds. Over 60 per cent of the latter were illiterate, dwelling 
miserably in huts, in villages without paving, water, sewers 
or lights, with a standard of living estimated at about 25 per 
cent of that of the average American farmer. They were 
intensely individualistic, conservative, averse to change and 
to modern methods. Even the rich peasants had no knowl- 
edge of agricultural machinery and the poor could not make 
a living. 

A new peasantry is now arising in the present volcanic 

1 Of $104,000,000 collected in taxes in a year by Alexander II all but 
$6,500,000 came from the peasants. See Chamberlin's Soviet Russia, 
pp. 14-26, to which we are indebted here. 


agrarian upheaval. The two million Russian soldiers cap- 
tured by the Germans during the World War brought back 
with them new ideas born of German farming methods. 
The Revolution that followed, the introduction of modern 
methods and mechanized agriculture on the state and col- 
lective farms all about them, the new school, the new spirit 
in the town meeting, participation in local government, the 
motion picture, the innovations and reforms of the youth 
movement led by their own children all have produced a 
storm of new ideas which have burst upon the peasants like 
a cyclone. 

By one of its earliest decrees, November 7, 1917, the 
Soviet government nationalized the soil and forever abol- 
ished private property in land. 1 The peasants who took 
possession directly from the old landlords regarded the land 
as their own. The increasing fractioning of land, the anti- 
quated methods of farming and the capitalistic and exploit- 
ing tendencies developed by the concessions of the new 
economic policy produced an unsatisfactory yield with no 
export of grain, which had been the chief asset of the old 

Lenin was convinced that the collective cultivation of land 
on large farms, with the introduction of machinery and 

* All land was held in trust by the state for all the people, under a sys- 
tem of perpetual leasehold. Individuals received the use of the land 
provided they farmed it with their own labor. The hiring of labor was 
prohibited. The October Revolution gave possession of 370,650,000 acres 
of land to the peasants, who now hold 96.5 of the arable land together 
with 32,123,000 acres of forest land. Taxation has been reduced to an 
average of about $2.00 per person a year. 


modern methods of industrialization, offered at once the 
only economic and social solution of the stubborn peasant 
problem. But not until a decade later under Stalin's leader- 
ship was Russia ready to attempt this bold advance. The 
Fifteenth Congress of the Communist Party, in December 
1927, approved of the policy of Stalin for a "gradual tran- 
sition" to large scale production. The kulaks, seeing that 
collectivization meant the end of their power, naturally 
opposed the movement, even by acts of murder and arson, 
with the result of "class war 7 ' in many villages. In 1928 
the kulaks were deprived of the franchise, excluded from 
participation in the collectives, and as a class were "liqui- 
dated." By 1930 the writer found them eliminated from 
every district he visited. Those who obstructed collectivi- 
zation were imprisoned, shot, or exiled to the virgin soil of 
Siberia or the North, others were dispossessed and left as 
laborers, or to till small holdings often under tremendous 
handicaps. Frequently no mercy was shown to a class 
regarded as their enemies, even though some of them had 
been merely industrious and thrifty and therefore pros- 
perous. A decree of January 6, 1930, quickened "the pace 
of collectivization." Local authorities, aided by "shock 
brigades" of industrial workers from the cities, were sent 
to collectivize the farms. In fear or opposition many 
peasants killed their cattle before entering the collectives, at 
great loss to the country. 1 Under economic and at times 

"Yakovlev, Commissary for Agriculture, admits that last year owing 
to this catastrophe horned cattle decreased by one-fifth, sheep by one- 
third, and pigs by two-fifths. Report at Party Congress, 1930. 


even military pressure the land was so rapidly and almost 
forcibly collectivized that by March, 1930, it was estimated 
that 55 per cent of all peasant farms had been thus organ- 
ized. 1 The movement, often crude and premature, produced 
some unfavorable reaction and decrease in membership. By 
March 2, 1930, Stalin warned his followers that they were 
suffering with "dizziness from success," and that the move- 
ment against the "middle peasants" must be voluntary and 
not repressive. 2 

Under the new plan there are at present three prevailing 
types of agriculture state farms, collectives and individual 
holdings. The object of the state farms is to furnish an 
example of model farming to the rest, and to produce grain 
for government export. By October 1, 1930, there were 
3,252 state farms, with an area of over 15,000,000 acres, 
containing a little over 3 per cent of the acreage of arable 
land. These were already using over 10,000 tractors and 
1550 combines. Six million families, or about one-quarter 
of the whole peasant population, were united in collectives, 
while some twenty million families were still cultivating 
individual farms. In the spring sowing 37.5 per cent of the 
crops were in collective farms. In the Volga region, taking" 
the average yield of the individual farmer as 100, the per 
capita yield in the collectives was 133.8, in the communes 
153.2, on the government farms 147.7. The whole weight 
of the government is thrown into making collective farming 

1 Isvestia, March 14, 1930. 

a Isvestia, April 3, 1930, Russia?* Agrarian Problem, p. 198, quoted by 
Foreign Policy Association. 


a success. By economy of power and of labor, by expert 
management, the supply of credit, machinery, seed selection, 
the lightening of taxes, social service and insurance by all 
means cooperation and socialization are encouraged, while 
individual profiteering is discouraged, taxed, disfranchised 
or placed without the law. 

At the end of the second year of the five year plan on 
October 1, 1930, the grain crop amounted to 86,500,000 
tons, or an increase of 20.6 per cent over the previous year, 
while the grain for market was 32.6 per cent above the 
estimate called for by the plan. The collective farms planted 
90,000,000 acres in the second year instead of the 51,000,- 
000 acres called for in the fifth or closing year of the plan. 
In the principal grain belt 43.8 per cent of the peasants had 
already joined the collectives while some 12,000,000 acres 
were already under cultivation in the state grain farms. 
Consequently this combined "socialized sector" is already 
producing over 50 per cent of the marketable grain, against 
only 43 per cent called for in the fifth year of the plan. 

The whole of Russia may almost be regarded as one vast 
experimental farm. In general, collectives are of three pre^ 
vailing types the partnership, the artel and the commune. 
The simplest is the partnership where the peasants unite in 
the joint cultivation of their land, the use of machinery and 
horses, although these remain the individual property of the 
members. In the more usual and successful type of artel 
the members pool their land, machinery and draft-animals, 
but retain personal possession of their homes and small 
livestock. In the commune, or more advanced type, which 


is not at present so popular with the majority but may 
become the prevailing plan of the future, the members unite 
all their resources, and establish communal kitchens, dining 
rooms, nurseries, laundries, etc. 

The individualistic peasant unfamiliar with the new 
methods, suspicious of change and fearing to lose his private 
possessions and liberty, may hold aloof for a time. He may 
naturally fear a new serfdom if he sacrifices his individual 
holding and is merged in the new collective. He is safe- 
guarded, however, at two points. As a laborer on the state 
farms he becomes a member of a powerful trade union 
which is integral to the whole organization of the state. As 
a member of the self-governing collective he has a vote and 
voice in the regular open meetings of the community,/ and 
a vote in the election or recall of the officers and committee 
in charge of the organization. So far as the working class 
is concerned the system is basically democratic. ; Even Stalin 
is dependent at every point upon their continued approval. 
There is of course no democracy and often little justice for 
those who do not belong to the working class. Credit is 
socialized for the approved workers. The 9000 local 
branches of the Central Agricultural Bank throughout rural 
Russia are ready to advance needed capital on favorable 
terms payable in from three to five years. This is chiefly 
available for collectives and those who work in harmony 
with the government plans. Life is often made unbearably 
hard for those who do not 

During the summers of 1929 and 1930, the writer visited 
the villages and endeavored to make a study of this impor- 


tant agricultural movement in the model state farms, the 
more newly organized collectives where the peasants share 
only their land and labor, and the more advanced communes 
where they have all their possessions in common. 

In the first commune visited in the Tambov region we 
stood upon the old ruined watch tower from which the 
former landlord of the great estate had had his serfs closely 
watched at their work with a spy glass. Nearby was a 
building erected by unpaid, forced labor and the whipping 
post where the former serfs or peasants were chastised when 
necessary. Here in the commune today are men who once 
worked for the old Russian general who had owned the 
estate and bred race horses in its great stables. In Czarist 
times these peasants in their bitter poverty were paid ten and 
twelve cents a day, three dollars a month or some forty 
dollars a year. The watch tower now lies in ruins; the 
serfs were liberated in 1861 ; the peasants were liberated 
from the iniquitous Czarist regime only in 1917. 

Today this estate is a commune founded by fifty Russian 
immigrants who returned from the United States to their 
own country in 1921. They started with nothing but their 
bare hands and these empty buildings. The first year they 
were so poor that they were reduced to eating crows and 
at times even weeds. Eight years ago their total assets, 
apart from the land, were $10,000 ; today they are $60,000. 
The membership has grown from 50 to 238 persons oper- 
ating fourteen hundred acres. 

Their nine modern tractors are working night and day 
on three eight-hour shifts. We noticed that one of them 


was operated by a woman. They have a large herd of cattle 
as well as several hundred sheep and hogs. They are tin- 
usually successful in breeding horses. They have good 
orchards, a flour and lumber mill, and they are putting in 
an electric plant. The radio in the social room connects 
them with Moscow. The members of the commune receive 
an initial cash payment of fifty or sixty cents a day. Out 
of this they pay seventeen cents for their board and set a 
very good table. Their children are cared for, from birth 
if desired, in the nursery for infants up to the age of four, 
afterward in kindergarten and school, and finally, for those 
who are capable, right through the university, from which 
four have already graduated. They seem particularly suc- 
cessful in their care of the children. We had never seen any 
who were happier or better trained to cooperate. 

The commune is as busy as a beehive and is rapidly ex- 
tending its work through social service in the surrounding 
country. It has organized and is organically related to 
twelve collectives in the region. These embrace some 1800 
members, already cultivating over 7000 acres. In the com- 
mune they share everything in the cooperative life. In the 
collective, which may later develop into a commune if suc- 
cessful, they share only land and labor. This commune of 
238 members was taxed last year only ninety-two dollars, 
which is less than the tax of a single rich peasant, probably 
less than farmers pay in any other country in the world. 

Nearby we found individual peasants cultivating their 
small strips of ten or twelve acres by archaic methods. Their 
wooden plow was not far in advance of that used by Abra- 


ham four thousand years ago, save that it had an iron point, 
or a broken spade, in place of the primitive sharpened stick. 
We found them still reaping with a sickle and threshing 
their grain by hand with a wooden flail, living in mud huts, 
with straw roofs and mud floors, which they share with the 
few domestic animals the more fortunate possess. The 
whole policy of the Government is to discourage individual 
accumulation of private property and to develop social 
accumulation in cooperative agriculture. The process of 
socialization is going on at terrific speed. We visited their 
new village schools where the children were singing the 
stirring songs of the Revolution. We saw their busy soviet 
headquarters and the crowded cooperative stores selling arti- 
cles at only two per cent profit. The few private stores that 
are left sell at more than double the price of the cooperatives. 
We heard individual peasants bitterly complaining of hard 
times, heavy taxes, and seizures of grain, but always admit- 
ting that at the worst they are better off than under the 
tinforgotten oppressions of Czarism. We heard the mem- 
bers of the collectives talking of their privileges, lightened 
taxes, modern machinery, larger crops and increase of per- 
sonal comforts and a higher standard of living. 

We next visited the Lenin Commune near by. A genera- 
tion ago the more enterprising of the impoverished workers 
who could escape left Czarist Russia in despair. All the 
best land in the region was held by a few rich landlords, 
while the worst was worked by the peasants. Here was 
Stephen who had just met us at the train. At the age of 
eighteen he left the farm where he was earning but five cents 


a day, journeying on foot, crept across the German border 
at night to escape from the Czarist regime and emigrated to 
America. There he earned as high as twelve dollars a day 
in war time. He joined the Communist Party in America 
tinder the leadership of John Reed of Harvard University 
and was arrested and put in jail as a radical. In spite of 
high wages he did not feel free under what seemed to him a 
system of social injustice in the United States. After the 
Revolution he had dreams of a new day in Russia. In 1922 
fifty-two of these Russian workers pooled their savings and 
with a combined capital of $30,000 purchased agricultural 
machinery and supplies and returned to Russia to found a 
colony, just as the fifty whom we had met in the neighbor- 
ing commune had done the year before. 
, They were given over 2000 acres of land by the Soviet 
Government and they founded the Lenin Commune which 
now, seven years later, numbers some four hundred and 
fifty persons. The value of their plant and invested capital, 
apart from the land, has increased during this period from 
$20,000 to over $170,000. Their net profit last year was 
about $8,000 after paying all expenses and taxes. [They 
borrow money from the cooperative banks at six and nine 
per cent interest- After paying all common expenses a small 
cash bonus accrues to each member. They do not object 
to the possession of personal property, but all functional 
property, which is the means of production, is held in 

Each member of this commune receives from forty to 
fifty cents a day in wages, from which he pays twenty cents 


for board. The commune supports all the children of the 
community, from birth,! save for the period of nursing, if 

desired,- providing a pre-school nursery up to the age of 

/ * 

four, a kindergarten from the age of four to seven, a school 

from seven years and upward, and sees the most capable 
children through college or university, where ten of them 
are now studying. 

Parents and children are in their homes only at night 
The home is preserved but some of its functions are per- 
formed by the school and others by the community. The 
center of gravity has shifted from the individual and the 
separate home to the community. In play and work co- 
operation becomes a life habit. It is a new way of life. 
From birth to death their whole training is not to get on in 
a struggle for individual acquisition and possession, but for 
the welfare of the whole community. Social acquisition 
takes the place of individual hoarding. We were impressed 
by the fact that of all the men with whom we talked who 
had been in America and had tasted what was to them the 
flesh pots of prosperity and high wages, not one wanted to 
go back. There was not a man, and very few of the women 
and children, but preferred what they considered the 
spiritual values of a greater freedom, self-expression and 
self-realization in this cooperative community to the greater 
personal gain and individual possession that they could have 
in America. They felt that America had taught them much, 
but that socially they could achieve more in Russia. , None 
seemed to take advantage of the commune as an excuse for 
laziness. They had found only one slacker in seven years 


and he was quickly eliminated. The injunction of scripture, 
"if a man will not work neither shall he eat/' was adopted 
in their constitution. 

This commune has its own orchards, dairy, cheese fac- 
tory, flour mill, foundry, sawmill and common dining room 
where they share an excellent table. Their cultural life 
centers in a large club house with its electrical installation, 
its radio, weekly motion picture, theatricals, and recreational 
and educational features. During the winter months the 
whole community engages in study in the evening, as in the 
people's schools of Denmark. The reading room furnishes 
a hundred and thirty-five papers and periodicals. In this 
commune only 27 members belong to the Communist Party 
and the local government is administered by a soviet or local 
committee of five, elected annually. Among the youth 32 
belong to the Komsomols and 45 to the younger Pioneers, 
or members of the organized youth movement, busily en- 
gaged in active service and preparation for the much coveted 
membership in the Communist Party. There are practically 
no special privileges for party members, but greatly in- 
creased responsibilities for service. \ 

During the three nights we were present most interesting 
meetings were held in the club house. The first was a war 
meeting for the registration of volunteers in case of war 
with China over the North Manchurian Railway contro- 
versy, frhroughout Russia the population was exercised 
over press reports of a series of alleged insults, seizures by 
the Chinese of Soviet offices and officials, of telegraph and 
railway lines, and they were convinced that the great powers 


were behind this series of hostile acts. The highest Chinese 
officials could not defend these seizures as legal when the 
writer talked with them later in the year. 

Here in the Lenin Commune when volunteers were asked 
for, in case of a possible war with China, in addition to the 
fourteen who were of draft age, twenty young men and 
women offered themselves for service. No candidates are 
ever called for any service or office unless they are open for 
both sexes equally. It would almost start another revolution 
if any monopoly of privilege were proposed "for men only/' 
On the first night one man alone in all the commune said 
"lie would not go to war. He had also failed to subscribe 
a month's wages for the third industrial loan that was to 
make possible the national five year program. Accordingly 
a meeting of the commune was held on the second night 
when we were present and he was tried and excluded from 
membership. 1 After giving him a fair hearing the action 
was almost unanimous. 

On the third evening in the commune a youth meeting 
was held which was attended by the entire community. 
Earnest addresses were delivered and the meeting was fol- 
lowed by the weekly motion picture. Most of these are 
Russian films furnished by the Government. They are not 
produced for profit but for the education of the people in 
the ideas they wish to inculcate. The film we saw was on 
the Springtime of Youth. Visualized in story form it car- 
ried a message on education, character and service. The 

E A year later, in 1930, we found that this man had been readmitted to 
the commune. 


climax of the picture never depicts personal achievement, 
wealth or individual happiness, but some social victory for 
the community. No films of doubtful influence are allowed 
in Russia. Douglas Fairbanks is popular but most Amer- 
ican films are not up to Russian social standards. Of all 
theatres charging admission, 40 per cent are operated by 
trade unions, 35 per cent by the Department of Education, 
3 per cent by a Government corporation and only 1 per cent 
by private persons. This is the one country that has not 
commercialized the moving picture but made it a vast edu- 
cational project. 

Sunday in the commune was a day of rest. We found 
but two old women, over seventy, who still occasionally 
attended church in the neighboring village. In place of the 
old religion of formalism and esthetic mysticism, often di- 
vorced from intelligence, morality and practical life, com- 
munists have instead sought to create a new humanitarian 
religion of social service. Their new moral code at present 
is a rational system of personal liberty based on social wel- 
fare. All marriages in the village are registered. There 
are few divorces and little irregularity or dissipation in this 
wholesome socialized village life. Drinking, which was very 
common among the members of the commune when they 
lived in America, is now largely eliminated. A nationwide 
campaign of education is being carried on against drink. 
The youth seemed healthy, wholesome and self -controlled. 
The boys and girls of the commune who live in the neigh- 
boring city while attending high school are under the guid- 
ance of no matron or older person, but maintain a whole- 


some self-discipline under their own self-governing youth 
organizations which have a liberal but serious moral code. 

Upon returning to Russia in 1930 we found that the two 
communes mentioned above had been united. Their mem- 
bership had increased to over a thousand. New features 
had been introduced. Of several incubators they were 
operating, one alone was capable of hatching thirty thousand 
chickens at a time. The exact production of the nationally 
needed grain, vegetables, dairy products, cattle, sheep, hogs, 
poultry and every agricultural or industrial product is pro- 
vided for in the "planned economy" of the State Planning 
Commission and of the Supreme Economic Council. Noth- 
ing is left to chance or to the private profit of anarchic 
competitive individualism. 

Of the members of the commune who formerly lived in 
America we found that the large majority preferred their 
present mode of living. They feel that the principal gain 
in collective and socialized agriculture is in the greater se- 
curity of life. In America they found high wages were 
interspersed with unemployment and times of need. There 
each Russian felt himself an alien. Here he is sure of work, 
he is never thrown out into helpless unemployment, and can 
live a full life not dependent on an individual employer. 
He has his vote and voice in determining all the conditions 
of his life. New thoughts and aspirations are released 
within him by the Revolution. If he is an idealist he feels 
that here he is a part of a great plan and that he is working, 
not only for himself, but for the benefit of the whole. For 


him Russia socially seemed the promised land o the future, 
and not America with its opportunity for private wealth. 

The Giant farm in the Caucasus began with half a million 
acres of virgin steppe land or prairie that had been used for 
grazing and was now to become a "grain factory/' In the 
first year, 1929, it produced 50,000 tons of wheat from a 
third of its area. For hours you may drive in an automobile 
through one vast sea of waving grain that stretches away 
to the horizon, without houses or trees to break the land- 
scape. In the center are a few administrative buildings for 
the giant tractors, combines and other machinery. During 
the very first year 50,000 peasants visited the Giant farm 
which furnishes a model and proves an inspiration to them 
to join the collectives. More and more they are uniting 
in ever larger and more efficient units for mass production. 

Even more effective is "Soviet Farm, No. 2," near Rostov 
on the Don in the Northern Caucasus. This farm covers 
some 275,000 acres of land which was an uncultivated steppe 
or prairie less than two years ago. Today it is not only a 
vast and successful farm, but it also has a college for train- 
ing engineers for the new mechanized agriculture of the 
collective farms, with a teaching staff of 70 and 525 stu- 
dents in its "Institute of Engineer Mechanics of Socialist 

These state farms had originally to furnish the govern- 
ment an amount of grain equal to what the kulaks or rich 
peasants had produced, approximately 1,800,000 tons. By 
next year these farms will yield twice that amount. They 
are now to grapple with the enormous task of repairing the 


deficiency of the country in meat, milk, butter, vegetables, 
cotton and flax by state enterprises similar to the successful 
Grain Trust. As collective cattle breeding- will take years to 
develop, they are also speeding up the rapid raising of pigs 
by American methods. Thousands of silo towers and tens 
of thousands of silo trenches are being built in a whirlwind 
campaign to supply fodder. This year $85,000,000 are 
being invested in pig sties, and pigs and cattle for breeding. 
A state trust for cattle is to have three million head in 1931 
and thirty-seven million acres of pasture land. Another is 
to have five million sheep, while 250 farms are being started 
for pigs. State farms expanded nearly fourfold last year 
and now cpver a total of 12,000;000 acres. The total 
amount of land under cultivation was increased by some 
20,000,000 acres. 

An expert of the London Economist, after a thorough 
study of the whole agricultural situation, reports that Rus- 
sian production of agricultural machinery in 1930 was 
approximately $160,000,000, or five times the pre-war 
amount, and that it will likely soon surpass even the United 
States. 1 The annual output of tractor power in Russia will 
amount to three million horsepower from the factories now 
under construction, and will be ready for the mechanical 
cultivation of over 200,000,000 acres. The expert of the 
Economist was deeply impressed with the "efficiency, strict 
discipline, natural friendliness and camaraderie" and the 
youth of the staff in the great farms mentioned above, who 

1 See The Economist, Russian Supplement, November 1, 1930, to which 
we are indebted in this section. 


were practically all under thirty. He found them in a revo- 
lutionary epoch where everything seems possible. They now 
contemplate moving the whole wheat belt up to the confines 
of Asia, where roughly a thousand million acres can be 
cultivated by American methods, and then utilize the present 
wheat region for more valuable and intense cultivation. 
The young Commissary of Agriculture reports that by the 
spring of 1933 they will have an additional sixty million 
acres under cultivation in the semi-drought zone where one 
man with his machines will look after 500 acres. 1 

The English expert found that the peasants were accept- 
ing the profitable program of industrialization and mechani- 
zation, but there may yet be a battle against the encroach- 
ments of the collectives upon their social, religious and 
family life. This is likely to create a rift between the older 
and younger generations. Parents still want to receive 
payment of their daughters' wages and retain their old cus- 
toms. But the cultural upheaval of the collective movement 
has brought new liberty and privileges to youth. Farip. 
boys can now produce electric light and pumps for irriga- 
tion for local market gardens. They enter schools for 
tractor and motor driving and find a rich social life without 
migrating to the city. They enter the courses for the 
"liquidation of illiteracy," organize fire brigades, enjoy the 
new social centers, the radio and cinema moving platforms. 

1 It Is proposed to divide the whole country into five zones as follows : 
1. Technical crops, cotton, tobacco, hemp, sugar beets, corn, soya beans, 
etc. ; 2. flax, dairy produce, market gardening ; 3. sub-tropical cotton, tea, 
grapes, oranges, fruits,* 4. extensive stock breeding; 5. forests occupying 
one-quarter of the country. The Economist, Nov. 1, 1930. 


Youth accepts enthusiastically the new mode of life and is 
finding a place for leadership in the agricultural revolution. 

Youth, age and the government all must adapt themselves 
and yield something to the new movement. The govern- 
ment has not been able to maintain the idea of complete 
equality in the collectives. They permit a five per cent divi- 
dend on capital invested. Some have their own cows, pigs, 
poultry and vegetable gardens. The distribution of profits 
depends upon quantity and quality of labor contributed. 
Upon the basis of a five-grade tariff, the best paid jobs 
go to the most skilled men. The system is not, however, 
producing petty, private capitalists, but rather social wealth 
and shared privilege. The ablest lead and receive some- 
thing for their special work, but there is still a democratic, 
substantial equality maintained. All risks are shared and 
the individual, sustained by the community, is not driven 
in fear to lay up for himself against the hazards of the 
future. The system is developing both individual initia- 
tive and social security. 

A new peasantry is being evolved in Russia. The revo- 
lution has given the peasant the land and a new liberty. 
It has in many ways driven him from the old ruts. It has 
swept over him with a cyclone of new ideas and practices. 
Whether he accepts them or resists them, his children at 
least have broken from the old order. They bring home 
daily new suggestions from the school or youth meeting. 
There are new posters, new motion pictures, new institu- 
tions, new agricultural methods all about him. He sees 
the tractors plowing their deep furrows about his little 


farm. He sees the larger crops and better living standard 
of his neighbors who have joined the collectives. He and 
his friends attend the village meeting. They are elected 
on the Soviets and other committees. They learn to speak 
out and fight for their rights as they never dared to do 
tinder Czarist oppression. However painful the process of 
transition for those of the older generation who cannot or 
will not change their habits of life, a new day has dawned 
for Russia. Probably greater changes are taking place 
among the peasants in this single decade than in the last 
two thousand years upon these steppes. 

One of the great experiments of the world is being tried 
out in Russia today the experiment of a united, coopera- 
tive, socialized order, in contrast to competitive, individ- 
ualistic, nationalistic states. Dogmatists on both sides may 
scout with contempt the possibility of an experiment in any 
but their own orthodox way of life. History may decide 
between the two. Or, it may evolve elements of value in 
each that can exist side by side; or it may enable both to 
make a lasting contribution in a higher synthesis of expe- 

The American agricultural expert, Mr. A. A. Johnson, 
estimates that if the present rate of progress is maintained, 
within ten years Russia will be the greatest producer and 
exporter of grain in the world. As one travels over the 
great plains oi central Russia or the steppes of the South, 
he sees endless reaches of some of the most fertile soil in 
the world. Nevertheless, after centuries the inhabitants 
had been left impoverished, unable to conquer the land with 


their bare hands. Today that untamed desert of potential 
wealth is being made to blossom as the rose. As far as 
the eye can reach, in the great state farms and collectives, 
there seems to appear an unbroken oasis, a golden stretch 
of ripened grain. This vast and rapidly extending plan 
of industrialized agriculture is changing not only the eco- 
nomic conditions of an age-long poverty; it is transforming 
the physical landscape and, even more important, the mental 
psychology of the peasant as well. 

Thus, in the course of one or two decades Russian agri- 
culture is becoming rapidly industrialized and socialized, 
cooperative and collective. It is indeed one of the most 
significant experiments in the world. 



One of Russia's most conspicuous successes lies in the 
field of industry. By 1921 industrial production had fallen 
to 17 per cent of that of pre-war figures, and agricultural 
production to 52 per cent. 1 Stalin was able to report 
to the Sixteenth Party Congress in June, 1930, that in 
less than a decade industrial production had been raised 
from 17 to 180 per cent of the pre-war maximum. 2 
Within a decade, by 1931, it will have exceeded 200 per 
cent. An advance of more than tenfold in production in 
a decade, in the face of a world depression and without 
foreign loans, is unprecedented. With production, the 
basic wealth invested in industry had also 1 annually grown 
during the decade, usually from 12 to 25 per cent a year. 
The Soviets had taken over an agricultural country, where 
82 per cent of the population were backward peasants, and 
where there were less factories in all Russia than in the 
single state of Pennsylvania. Even today there are only 

1 Professor Gromann of the Gosplan at the Geneva Industrial Confer- 
ence, Soviet Russia in the Second Decade, p. 41. By 1921 the output of 
mineral fuels and metal ores had stopped almost completely. The number 
of workers had decreased to 60 per cent of pre-war, and real wages 
amounted hardly to 35 per cent. Gosplan, The Soviet Union Looks 
Ahead, p. 8, 

* Pravda, June 29, 1930. 



some 5,221,000 industrial factory workers out of a total 
population of 160,000,000, or about 3 per cent in Russia 
compared to over 8 per cent in the United States. The 

problem was to industrialize and socialize this backward 


agricultural country, 1 

Russia presents today the novel picture of a socialized 
state, where the profit motive as it is known in America 
has almost ceased to operate. No private person can legit- 
imately make a profit out of the system of state and co- 
operative economy. The ownership of all land and natural 
resources, more than 90 per cent of industrial production, 
all foreign trade, railways, large banks, and more than nine- 
tenths of the total trade turnover is already socialized. 
This is the most colossal experiment in socialism ever at- 

All of industry is organized and operated in several hun- 
dred so-called state trusts. A trust usually manages a group 
of mines or factories in a given region. They are state 
organizations operating under the Supreme Economic 
Council, for the efficient management of industry upon a 
self-supporting basis, if possible earning profit for the 

1 In 1909 the per capita production for all industrial products was but 
$160, compared to $2,280 in the United States j up to the time of the war 
the per capita value of agricultural products in Russia was but $30, com- 
pared to $200 in the United States. The theoretical aim and the titanic 
practical problem was to unify the whole of Russia's economic life under 
a single scientific plan, to socialize all basic resources and production, to 
eliminate private profit and therefore all conflicting class interests, to 
organize the whole working population in socially useful labor, to provide 
for the active participation of the workers in the whole economic and 
political life. 


state. The strong and profitable trusts are thus made to 
support the backward or undeveloped industries. 1 

Russia is the only country which has the distinction of 
bringing its whole economy industry, agriculture, and 
trade; production, consumption and distribution, under the 
perview of a single economic general staff. It is called the 
Gosplan, or State Planning Commission. This is neither an 
executive nor an administrative body, but furnishes the 
general strategy and plan for Russia's whole economic 
life. It somewhat resembles the Allied General Staff, or 
President Wilson's War Industries Board. There are some 
500 experts on the central staff, headed by a governing 
board of sixteen. 

Its first aim was to bring Russia's economic output up to 
the pre-war basis and make the country self-supporting. 
Next it seeks, by a series of annual and five-year plans, to 
accomplish economically the seemingly impossible, by the 
enthusiastic cooperation of all producers, consumers and 
officials, after the elimination of all conflict between em- 
ployers and employed, where the classes of owners and de- 
pendents have now ceased to exist. All are workers in a 
workers' state. The Gosplan aims at a goal of the maxi- 

1 The trust may be vertical, including one given industrial process, like 
woodworking, or horizontal, like the Sugar Trust, which includes every- 
thing from the growing of beets to the marketing of sugar. Each trust 
is legally independent, responsible for its own financial obligations. It is 
subject to universal labor laws and settles its wage rates through collec- 
tive bargaining with the trade unions. Of the profits, about 50 per cent 
go to the government, 10 to 14 per cent for the welfare of the workers, 
while the balance is devoted to the surplus of the trust for expansion 
and reserves. 


mum production of necessities and plain comforts, by a 
minimum of human effort, while seeking first the human 
factor of the health, safety, education, cultural development 
and optimum working* conditions for all who labor. Of 
the 75,394,000 gainfully employed, 60,676,000 are in agri- 
culture and only 5,221,000 in industry proper, including 
large and small scale, although there are now 10,887,000 
urban workers. 1 

J The Five-Year Plan 

The whole life of Russia at present is centered in the 
five year plan which is the most titanic undertaking o the 
Soviet Union. The plan aims to transform Russia from 
a prevailingly agricultural into a genuinely industrial nation 
with a self-sufficient and balanced economy. Between 
October 1, 1928, and September 30, 1933, this seemingly 
impossible transformation is to take place. The whole 
constitutes nothing less than a deliberate and directed 
industrial revolution. 

*In agriculture 60,696,000 

Large scale industry 2,864,000 

Small scale industry 2,357,000 

Construction 725,000 

Transportation 560,000 

Telegraph and telephone 93,000 

Trade 1,163,000 

Education 753,000 

Health service 366,000 

State and Cooperatives 922,000 

Miscellaneous 3,895,000 

Michael B. Scheler in Current History, October, 1930, p. 47. 


Thus far the yearly goal of the plan has not only been 
equalled but exceeded in most branches of industry, so that 
some of the goals set for 1933 had been surpassed by 
October, 1930. In two fields the plan fell short at the be- 
ginning*, and will probably be uneven in its accomplishments. 
At the close of the first year the decrease in cost of pro- 
duction was only 5 per cent instead of the scheduled 7 per 
cent; while labor productivity was increased 14.5 per cent 
instead of the 17.3 per cent called for by the plan. 1 An 
increase of wages by 10.5 per cent and the reduction of the 
average working day to 7.2 hours made these goals more 

At the close of the five-year period the gross agricultural 
output is expected to be 155 per cent of that of 1927-28, 
that of all industries is to be 236 per cent, power capacity 
324 per cent, and power output 451 per cent of 1927-28, or 
eleven times the pre-war standard. 2 And all this is at- 
tempted by Russia alone, without foreign loans or aid, in 
the midst of world depression, after having lifted herself 
out of seemingly hopeless chaos and bankruptcy. 

During the first year, 1928-29, more than a hundred new 
industrial establishments were completed. Colonel Hugh 
Cooper, the American hydroelectric power plant construc- 
tion engineer, builder of the Muscle Shoals project, is now 
chief consultant for the building of the even larger $100,- 
000,000 combination dam and electrical station on the River 

1 Current History, July, 1930, p. 653. 

*Ibid, p. 652. The year 1927-28 means from October 1, 1927 to Octo- 
ber 1, 1928. 


Dnieper. Of some ten thousand engineers, technicians and 
skilled workers from foreign lands now working in Russia, 
nearly a thousand are from America, with a larger number 
from Germany. The important Turkestan-Siberian Rail- 
way, over 1100 miles in length, connecting the southern 
cotton belt with the granary of Siberia, was completed in 
April, 1930, over a year ahead of schedule. Its builder, 
Shatoff, was a member of the I. W. W. in the United 
States for whom America could offer no better place than a 
jail. In Russia he was recognized at once as an able banker 
and railway builder. Three large automobile factories 
are under construction, one of which, under the technical 
assistance of the Ford Motor Company, is to produce 140,- 
000 cars yearly, while a fourth factory plans to produce 
160,000 cars. Two large tractor plants, with a production 
of 50,000 units each, are now being built. 

Aviation is to share in the five-year plan with an invest- 
ment of $50,000,000. Already Russia has twenty air lines, 
covering 16,000 miles and annually carrying 11,476 pas- 
sengers. At the close of the five-year period they expect 
to have 145 lines, covering 80,000 miles, and carrying 
300,000 passengers annually. This would slightly exceed 
the present passenger traffic in American aviation. The 
writer's experience of flying in Russia convinced him of the 
growing efficiency of the system of aviation. 

The enormous increase in electrification and in the metal 
and machine industries are basic to the whole plan. At one 
of their weakest points and with the greatest difficulty the 
plan contemplates increasing the output of pig iron, which 


in the pre-war period was four million tons, to ten million 
tons by 1933. The pre-war output of coal has already been 
doubled. 1 Oil, electrification and agricultural engineering 
have more than fulfilled the requirements of the original 
plan and of the revised figures. 2 The Russians remember 
Lenin's formula that "electrification plus Soviets equals so- 
cialism." Electric power is their pet hobby, yet the rapid 
development of industry and the need for power ever out- 
strips the growing output. The production of agricultural 
machinery increased 54 per cent last year and is already five 
times the pre-war output. 

A new chemical industry is being created. An era of 
titanic building is in evidence all over Russia factories, 
dams, hydroelectric power stations, irrigation plants, rail- 
ways, oil wells, mining projects, vast agricultural centers 
for state farms and collectives, and housing for industrial 
workers. About 35 per cent of the total industrial output 
will come from the newly constructed plants. Nearly three 
billion dollars is to be invested in urban housing. This is 
desperately needed. Moscow is the most overcrowded city 
in the world. But model houses are now being built in all 
cities and in many new farming centers. 

The five-year plan provided for total new investments of 

1 Pre-war 23 million tons, 1929-30 46 million tons. The Economist, 
November 1, 1930. Statistics in this section were originally taken from 
The Five Year Plan for Economic Construction or The Soviet Union 
Looks Ahead, 1929. Many of its estimates had already been surpassed 
by October 1, 1930. Electric power production is to reach 22 billion 
kilowatt-hours a year, coal production 75 million tons, oil 23 million tons, 
pig iron 10 million tons, chemical fertilizers 7 million tons by 1933. 

* The production of oil increased in the first two years 14.4 and 26 per 
cent and was 14,000,000 tons in the latter year. 


$33,300,000,000, including some $8,500,000,000 for in- 
dustry, $12,000,000,000 for agriculture and the remainder 
for transportation, electrification and housing. Even this 
is being increased so that at the close of the five-year period 
there will probably have been an expenditure of some $50,- 
000,000,000. This means the staggering undertaking of 
setting aside half the national income for five years. Prob- 
ably no other society could attempt it. The accumulation 
and redistribution of wealth on such a scale is unprece- 
dented in economic history. 

Unemployment was reduced from 1,714,000 in 1929 and 
1,080,000 early in 1930 until there was no registered un- 
employment at the end of 1930 but a real scarcity of labor 
in building, industry and agriculture. The productivity of 
labor is expected to increase 110 per cent in industry while 
there is to be an estimated increase in money wages of 47 
per cent in five years, and in real wages an increase of 70.5 
per cent, which will be 108.9 per cent above 1913. The 
average working day will be 6.86 hours, or 3.03 hours 
shorter than in 1913. 

It is planned that the goods famine is to be ended within 
the five-year period. The national income is to be increased 
from 12.3 billion dollars to 24.8 billion dollars computed 
at constant prices, or 103 per cent. This means an annual 
increase of over 10 per cent, compared to the greatest 
known increase in the United States between 1880 and 
1890 of 4,5 per cent a year. 1 

1 Tugan-Baranovsky, The Russian Factory, and G. M. Price, Labor 
Protection in Soviet Russia, pp. 15-20. 


The five-year plan is steadily socializing trade. In 1923, 
after two years of the New Economic Policy, 90 per cent 
o retail trade was in the hands of private dealers. Then 
the unthinking world said that Russia had been forced to 
abandon communism as a failure and was turning back to 
capitalism. When the government became strong enough 
"Nepmen" were taxed out of existence. In the first year 
of the plan trade was divided as follows : private 13.9 per 
cent, cooperatives 48.5, the State 37.6, In the fifth year of 
the plan, 1932-33, they have reason to expect the following 
proportions: private 3.2, cooperatives 59.2, the State 37.6. 

Motivation for sustained enthusiasm in connection with 
the plan becomes a problem for the leaders, but they seem 
to be solving it. The feverish "tempo" they believe is pos- 
sible for th&m under socialism where it would be impossible 
tinder capitalism. The trait of enthusiasm for quantity 
rather than quality, for expansion rather than intensifica- 
tion is called in Russia "Americanism." Nothing is counted 
impossible. Work is speeded up by a socialist "emulation" 
campaign where groups of workers in one factory enter 
into competition with those in another to* increase produc- 
tion. These competitions take on the enthusiastic char- 
acter of an American football season/ In addition to public 
approval and praise there are substantial rewards and 
prizes, always, however, social rather than personal. The 
AMO factory in Moscow, which exceeded its quota, re- 
ceived a prize of $375,000 for the purpose of building 
model houses for the workers. The Laps factory was 
awarded $250,000 for the same purpose. The Marx fac- 


tory in Leningrad received $375,000; the Lenin Mine se- 
cured $150,000 for housing. At the Ilytch Metallurgical 
Works six workers received travelling scholarships abroad. 

Wartime^ methods "to win the war" are utilized in a 
dramatic and intense motivation, with a sense of practically 
equal sharing in a vast social undertaking, a feeling of real 
ownership in social wealth and a wide distribution of re- 
sponsibility. For all who will lead or work the country is 
theirs. It is under the influence of such a spirit that the 
government dares to undertake in five years the hitherto 
unheard-of herculean task of doubling the national income 
and trebling industrial production. Even if these figures are 
heavily discounted they compare more than favorably with 
the United States where the rate of increase in productivity 
has been about 4 per cent a year in normal times. Experts 
like those of The Economist of London, the leading finan- 
cial weekly in the principal capitalist center of the world, 
bear testimony to the amazing success of the plan as a whole 
despite its many shortcomings. 

There are many faults and failures in the plan, however. 
As a titanic, sacrificial undertaking it places a strain upon 
the entire nation. It is a bed of roses for none. The plan 
is often made an end in itself. Quality is frequently sacri- 
ficed to quantity and is often pitifully poor. Machinery, 
hastily installed, sometimes will not function. Production 
is uneven and backward portions of the plan delay others. 

The leaders are enthusiastic but the workers sometimes 
suffer from "war weariness." The very success of the plan 
entails real privation. Under capitalism an economic crisis 


is usually due to over-production while Russia chronically 
suffers from under-production. The government has no 
selling problem. Instead, the whole population might almost 
be pictured as standing in line waiting to be served. The 
shortage is connected with the enormous rapidly growing 
internal market, ever developing new wants, the organiza- 
tion of the consumers, and the control by the government 
of both producers and consumers and their finances. 1 

The "tempo" declined somewhat in the second year of the 
plan. After the first year increase in production was 23.4 
per cent, or 2 per cent above the goal. The second year did 
not realize the further anticipated increase of 31 per cent 
but was maintained at 24 per cent above the preceding year, 
compared to a 4 per cent advance in annual industrial pro- 
duction in the United States. The closing quarter of 1930 
was a critical "shock period" during which Moscow ex- 
pected "every man to< do his duty." 

The "fluidity" of labor constitutes another problem where 
thousands move from one job and one region to another in 
search of better food conditions or higher pay. American 
engineers and technicians working in Russia have often met 
with physical hardships in their living conditions. But 
even more annoying has been the slipshod methods and 
poor labor discipline of many of the Russian workers, and 
the lack of responsibility and authority of managers and 

*$ee The Economist, London, November 1, 1930, to* which we are 
indebted here. The demand may however be free from the fluctuation 
of a capitalist market. The buyers are conveniently reduced to half a 
dozen such as the Grain Trust, the Tractor Center, the Cotton Grower, 
the Kolhos or Collective Center, etc. 


foremen in getting things done promptly and efficiently 
'and in operating the new factories which have been so 
hastily erected. Yet by trial and error, by failure as well 
as success, the Russians are learning. 

In their reports to the Sixteenth Congress of the Com- 
munist Party in July, 1930, Stalin and Kuibishev, President 
of the Supreme Economic Council, dealt with present attain- 
ments rather than with future prophecy. 1 Their basic capi- 
tal has been doubled in three years. What other country- 
could say as much during a period of world depression? 
The labor productivity of the casual Slav has increased 41 
per cent in three years, and was 50 per cent higher than in 
1913. While in two years agricultural production had in- 
creased to 113 per cent of the pre-war maximum, the annual 
industrial production in the second year of the plan, 1929-30, 
was 180 per cent of pre-war production, and transportation 
193 per cent. The value of production increased during 
last year 76 per cent in strategic industries and 24 per cent 
in agriculture over the preceding year. It was but a short 
time ago that Secretary Hughes called Russia an "economic 
vacuum." No country is less of a vacuum today. 

At the close of the second year of the plan on October 1, 
1930, Kuibishev was able to report a surprising advance 
along almost the entire economic front, which had more 
than fulfilled the goals set for this period and now seems 
to justify the Government in the conviction that they will 

1 Stalin's report is in Pravda, June 29, 1930; Kuibishev's in Isvestia, 
July 11, 1930. 


achieve the five-year plan in four years. 1 The pre-war level 
of industrial production already had been doubled. 

The gains in the various fields compared to the goals 
set are as follows : 


Output Estimate of Excess 

1929-30 of Plan over Plan 

Oil 30,600,000 tons 28,000,000 tons 9.6 

Steel 10,200,000 tons 9,900,000 tons 3. 

Rolled Metal 8,300,000 tons 7,600,000 tons 9.2 


output $390,500,000 $294,000,000 32.6 


machinery 257,500,000 236,000,000 8.8 

Gross Output 25% 20% 5. 

Means of production 

' industries 40% 24% 16. 

The Trade Unions 

The trade unions in Russia are naturally the largest and 
strongest of any country in the world. In the eighteenth 
century work was based on compulsory labor, the workers 
being either chattels of the nobles or belonging to villages 
bought and owned by the industrial employers. By the 
nineteenth century free labor began to develop. Hours of 
work were from twelve to eighteen a day. 

Before the war in Czarist Russia while a kind of "com- 
pany union'* controlled by the police was permitted, all 
genuine organizations of the workers were suppressed and 
strikes were broken up with bloodshed. By the time of the 
first Revolution there were not more than 1500 union mem- 

1 New York Times, December 1, 1930. 


bers. Today there are nearly 12,000,000, including 95 
per cent of all productive workers who are eligible. They 
are organized in 23 large industrial unions, uniting all the 
employees in a given industry regardless of their craft or 
function. The trade unions constitute a basic and integral 
part of the economic, political and cultural life of the coun- 
try. Collective bargaining is provided for by the Constitu- 
tion and all employers of labor, whether state or private, 
are required to recognize the unions and to negotiate with 
them. On the other hand, workers' control of factories 
was found to be a complete failure and nowhere is labor 
allowed to wield the "big stick" by a monopoly of power, 
or to disregard the welfare of the public as consumers. 
Their special privileges, however, are numerous, including 
protection by labor laws, reduction in payment of taxes, 
social insurance, rents, tickets for theatres and entertain- 
ments, preference in entrance for themselves or their chil- 
dren in educational institutions, free vacations at rest 
houses and free medical treatment. A trade union card is 
a priceless possession and its many privileges are attested 
by the almost maximum membership that is allowed. This 
is true both of the trade unions and the cooperatives. 

The trade union begins in the factory with the shop 
committee elected annually by all the workers. Its duty is 
to protect the workers, represent them in all relations with 
the employer, whether private or state trust, administer the 
social welfare work of the factory nursery, school, library, 
hospital or other institutions, increase production, and co- 
ordinate the various economic interests of the plant. The 


trade unions bargain collectively with the state agencies for 
the fixing of wages. 

The right to strike against a private employer or state 
enterprise is legally provided for but is seldom used, and 
then only when other forms of negotiation have failed. 1 
The sympathy of the state is often with the strikers against 
the state trust. A complete mechanism is provided for the 
impartial settlement of all disputes. If a dispute cannot be 
settled by the shop committee it is referred to an arbitration 
committee, both parties being represented equally with a 
neutral chairman. In case of a deadlock, the dispute may 
be passed on to a Board of Arbitration, whose decision is 
final. There are no exhaustive struggles over "recognition'' 
or hours of work, which are the shortest in the world. 

There is a healthy trade union democracy among the 
workers. Economically free, independent of any individual 
employer, apprehensive of no arbitrary discharge or neg- 
lected unemployment, the laboring class at least is encour- 
aged in the freedom of expression and the right of criticism 
of industry or the government. Soviet Russia has a merited 
reputation for merciless self-criticism. All papers and re- 
ports of the trade unions and the Party are full of it. This 
is confirmed by literally thousands of letters from workers 
and peasants that pour in to the daily press, the factory wall 
newspapers, etc. However, action that would be regarded 

1 The number of strikes in 1924 and following years was 267, 196, 337, 
396, and in 1928, 150, involving a total number of strikers of less than 
50,000 a year. This would be but a small fraction of those in the United 
States in the same years. Strikes are looked upon merely as a lack of 
coordination between a workers 1 government and workers' unions. 


as seditious for the overthrow of the government would not 
be permitted in Russia any more than in America and would 
be dealt with more swiftly and ruthlessly. 

Wages in Russia are still confessedly low while the cost 
of living is relatively high. The writer found in 1923 that 
the average wage for all Russia was only 25 cents a day. 
In Moscow wages then ran from $10 to $50 a month. In 
1930 the average wage for the U. S. S. R. for unskilled 
labor was $31.90 a month, and for skilled labor $41. 95, 1 
In Moscow the average is $46.32, a husband and wife each 
receiving about the same wage. Real wages are already 16 
per cent above those of 1913, with additional benefits and 
social services amounting to 27.3 per cent of the total pay- 
roll, in reduced rents and prices, free vacations, medical 
service, etc. 1 Professor Paul Douglas estimates that Amer- 
ican workers earn about three and a third times those of 
Russia, and that their standard of living is approximately 
three and a half times as high. 2 

Colonel C T. Starr of the American engineering firm of 
Stuart, James and Cooke, advisor of the Soviet Coal Trusts, 

1 Statistics furnished by the Gosplan, August, 1930. 

2 Soviet Russia- in the Second Decade, p. 241. A Moscow worker 
would earn, say $40 a month and his wife about the same, or a little less. 
He pays 2 per cent of his wages to the trade union, $6 a month for rent. 
He pays at the cooperative 2 cents a pound for black bread, 5 cents for 
brown. For beef he pays 20 cents a pound, ham 50 cents, Swiss cheese 
dOvcents, fish 62 cents. His suit of clothes costs $25, a pair of shoes $5 
to $10, cotton socks 75 cents, a shirt $2.50, cap $3, an overcoat $30. If the 
workman is poor his rent, which is the average in Moscow, is only $1.25 
a month. He has many perquisites in the way of medical attendance, 
theatre tickets, social insurance, etc. On the whole he is fairly con- 
tented, he works hard, and is indifferent to his food and physical hardships. 


reports on the condition of workers in the mines of the 
Don Basin that wages ranged from 60 cents to $2.00 a day 
for a working day of from 6 to 8 hours. Vacations on full 
pay ranged from twelve days to one month. Other com- 
pensation, insurance, social service, rent, heat, light and food 
at reduced prices amount to 37 per cent added to the workers' 
wages. Every man works four days out o<f five and has 
seventy rest days a year. Allowing for these benefits, the 
average net compensation per worker was a little over $600 
a year. Food and housing conditions for Russian workers 
are still often primitive, but no workers care less for their 
condition or will put up with more hardship. The strain 
and self-sacrifice imposed upon the workers by the five-year 
plan would not be tolerated by independent, individualistic, 
Anglo-Saxon workers, but, along with some grumbling and 
complaint, is stolidly borne by the Russian workingmen. 

Russia has been lavish in employing such experts as 
Colonel Starr. Ralph Budd, president oi the Great North- 
ern Railway, as technical advisor of Russia's transportation 
system ; Thomas Campbell, who operates the largest farm in 
America, and hundreds of others have been wisely employed. 
In industry and agriculture Russia is always eager to learn. 

x x Social Services 

In protective labor legislation and social insurance Russia 
probably leads the world, although the amount of insurance 
paid to some classes is less, for instance, than in Germany. 
In 1913 the average number of hours in the normal working 
day was 9.9. The Labor Code of 1918 and 1922 intro- 


duced a maximum eight hour day. Today it has been 
reduced to an average of 7.2 hours. Instead o one day's 
rest In seven, one in five is now provided in "the continuous 
working week." Each worker rests each fifth day, or six 
days each month. As the workers take their rest in rotation 
industry never stops. This innovation is not yet popular, 
however, as the workers like to have their holiday together 
with all their friends. 

The Russian Labor Code is characterized by its univer- 
sality. It is applicable to all forms of labor in all trades. 
Employment is a matter of national concern and it is the 
business of government Labor Exchanges to find work for 
every possible man. In August 1930, 1,080,900 were unem- 
ployed though there was a strong demand for labor and a 
shortage of it in many rural districts. About half the 
unemployed received aid from the state insurance funds 
varying from $6 to $15 a month, according to their skill, 
former salary, etc., with reduction of rent and other benefits. 
The rate was lower, however, than in England or Germany, 
Child labor, which is still permitted in so many of the states 
in America, is prohibited in Russia for children under four- 
teen, while those from fourteen to sixteen may work but 
four hours a day, and from sixteen to eighteen six hours. 

Social insurance legislation is more beneficial to the 
workers in Russia in many respects than In any other coun- 
try. Already more than nine-tenths of the wage workers 
are insured. This social insurance is in the control of the 
trade unions, the Commissariat of Labor and the workers 
themselves. While in other countries the workers usually 


contribute from thirty to forty per cent of the Insurance 
funds, in Soviet Russia the workers are not asked to con- 
tribute anything. About fourteen per cent of the wages, 
but not from the wages, is devoted to such social insurance, 
while in most other countries it ranges from two to four per 
cent. 1 Most generous and extensive provisions for pay- 
ments for maternity and child welfare, for medical care, for 
temporary and permanent disability, unemployment, invalid- 
ity and old age, housing, death benefit and burial are made. 
It is evident that low wages are largely compensated for by 
increased security, reduced rents and prices for food, recre- 
ation, cultural privileges, education for the worker and his 
children and provision for all contingencies and for old age. 
There is no place in the system for hoarding because of 
individual fear, to make provision for the unknown future. 
The risk is shared and borne by all socially instead of indi- 
vidually. The American worker receives higher wages but 
has less security against unemployment, old age, sickness, 
etc. The Russian has lower wages but more security. Sev- 
eral hundred labor exchanges at government expense are 
responsible for providing work for every possible man. 
Working women, who were the beasts of burden in old 

1 Labor Protection m Soviet Russia, by G. M. Price, p. 99. In old 
Russia 75 per cent of the population was left without medical aid. Today 
the whole medical profession has been socialized. Medical practitioners 
are incorporated in the service of the state during five or six hours a day. 
Beyond this they are free for private practice. Medical treatment in 
hospitals and homes alike is free for all trade union members and is 
increasingly on a preventive rather than a curative basis. A growingly 
successful campaign is waged against drink, venereal disease and pros- 


Russia, are specially protected and as a rule prohibited from 
night work and from certain arduous employments. All 
manual women workers are free from work on full pay 
eight weeks before and eight weeks after childbirth. Addi- 
tional financial assistance and special provisions are made 
for mothers during the seven to nine months nursing 
period. 1 

Public nurseries, provided for small children whose 
mothers are at work, are a notable feature of Russian life, 
not only in the factories, but on the collective farms, and in 
the parks and places of amusement. Such scientific and 
uniformly kind treatment of children is all the more note- 
worthy in a country that was recently so backward. 

Among Russia's social institutions is the "red corner" 
which is a room or corner in a factory or club which pro- 
vides newspapers, magazines, books, and study courses 
where cultural work is carried on. In these corners numer- 
ous circles and groups meet for study courses in discussions 
on every conceivable subject. There are station or traveling 
libraries and motion pictures made available for many of 
the most distant and isolated places. Excursions at reduced 
rates for study and recreation and visits to the numerous 
museums are planned. There are fifty such museums in 
Moscow alone, some of them of a high educational and cul- 
tural value, while others are for propaganda purposes. The 

"Working mothers are maintained in hospital for two weeks after 
childbirth. After two months 1 rest on full pay, for nine months follow- 
ing 1 she receives 25 per cent extra on her wages. In all the larger fac- 
tories here are creches for the care of the children under expert nurses, 
See Soviet Labor Code f Section 183. 


extension of adult education and the fight against illiteracy 
are notable achievements. No other country in the world 
has such a comprehensive system of workers' education. 

"Wall newspapers" are edited by a group of workers. 
There are more than a quarter of a million correspondents 
and writers for the daily press and wall newspapers who 
make suggestions, ventilate their grievances and by rigorous 
criticism help to democratize the movement so far as the 
workers are concerned. 

Vacations are provided for workers for at least two weeks 
on full pay in advance. Palaces and summer resorts of the 
former nobility are turned over for sanitaria, rest homes, 
hospitals and nurseries for the workers and their children. 
In the palace and surrounding park of some former noble- 
man, one sees accommodated during the course of a single 
summer several thousand workers in turn. The visitor sees 
them browning themselves on the lawns in the sun, resting 
in hammocks under the trees, swimming in the lake or river, 
or playing games over the wide grounds. It is an almost 
startling sight to see every former palace, every gallery, 
resort or place of amusement socialized for the most needy 
among the workers children, women, men, the sick, the 
aged, the infirm. Nearly a million workers are annually 
taken care of without charge in the mansions and palaces 
of the former aristocracy, the handful of the privileged class 
who once possessed the bulk of the wealth, the best land and 
the special privileges of "holy Russia/' 

A whole network of clubs, educational and recreational 
centers is spread throughout Russia. These are never pater- 


nalistic, but democratically run by the workers themselves. 
All principal factories or groups of factories have their 
clubs where the workers spend their spare hours in reading, 
study and recreation. There is a room for lectures and 
entertainments, classrooms for groups, a dining room, bil- 
liard and games room, library and reading room, sometimes 
a gymnasium, an athletic ground and a children's room. 
Most clubs are equipped with radios and for motion pictures. 
At the noon hour, in the afternoon and evening these rooms 
are crowded. In the summer months the workers have their 
parks, athletic grounds and boat clubs on the rivers and 
lakes. More than 7000 playgrounds for children are now in 
operation. In Moscow over ninety such places are open 
every night in the summer. 

As one of these we might visit the single Park of Culture 
and Rest in Moscow. One may see a hundred thousand 
workers there every summer afternoon and evening and 
three hundred thousand on special days. Children of the 
workers are scientifically cared for free of charge in differ- 
ent departments for every age. We visit the library, read- 
ing room and remarkable educational exhibits. Scores are 
at the chess tables. We attend the free language classes in 
English and other foreign languages. On the huge athletic 
field we see a dozen familiar sports in progress. Thirty 
courts of American volley ball are going side by side. The 
youth sing out : "There go the Americans. Come and have 
a game with us." Our group accepts the challenge and we 
are beaten by a narrow margin, as the good humored crowd 
applauds with hilarity. The girls then challenge us to a 


game, confident of victory. In no country are foreigners 
so little noticed and yet treated with more good will. 

On the river we find every trade union has its boat club. 
There are craft of all types, eight-oared, four-oared and 
single shells, for boys, girls, and workers of all kinds. Ath- 
letics and gymnastics seem to be as popular here as in 
America or Britain. There is the finest spirit of equal com- 
radeship between the sexes. In no other country have we 
seen more sensible girls or less petting and spooning. 

We observe no round dancing of single couples, but in 
large open spaces there is folk dancing upon a large scale 
for young and old. We can hardly keep our feet still as 
good-natured crowds take their turn, always with music and 
under trained leadership, in this healthy and hilarious recre- 
ation, which seems to have recaptured the spirit of the 
"merrie England" of the middle ages. 

On an evening when all the trade union workers of the 
country had voluntarily voted a day's pay for speeding up 
the five year plan, we saw three hundred thousand workers 
in this park with its free entertainments opera, theatre, 
ballet, circus, or moving pictures, all of the highest order, 
filling and refilling the tents and halls. It was like a vast 
Coney Island with the addition of educational features and 
provisions for culture and rest, not commercialized, but run 
every day and every night in the year by the municipality at 
a deliberate loss of millions for the benefit of the people. 
Nowhere in the world have we seen such a park. Yet such 
playgrounds and institutions, on a smaller and more modest 
scale, are being standardized and introduced not only in all 


the cities but also in some of the most distant country places. 
Leisure, rest, recreation and privilege are being socialized as 
in no other land. 

The Cooperative Movement 

The cooperative movement is by far the strongest in the 
world. Indeed it enrolls more members than all the rest of 
the world combined. The early cooperative movement met 
with the hostility of the Czar's government which never 
gave it legal recognition. The Soviet Government, on the 
other hand, has thrown the whole weight of its power in 
favor of the movement and practically controls it. The 
three main forms of cooperation in Russia today are the 
Consumers, Agricultural and Handicraft organizations. 
The total membership of all Consumers cooperatives on 
April 1, 1930, was the enormous total of 42,199,000. The 
Agricultural cooperatives enroll 27,000,000 members, who 
also 1 , for the most part, belong to the Consumers organiza- 
tions. The Peasant Craft organizations have 1,760,000 
members and the Housing cooperatives 762,000. With the 
rapid drift of the rural population to the cities the important 
function of these is the collective building and management 
of dwellings. Apart from 6.7 per cent in the cities and the 
3.9 per cent of the population in the villages who are dis- 
franchised, 1 nearly all the families of Russia are members 
of the cooperatives. 

The Consumers societies own and operate 111,238 stores. 

1 These include those living on unearned income, members of the Czarist 
police, the clergy, and those deprived of civil rights by the courts. 


There are local, district, regional and national unions with 
a central organization, the Centrosoyus, as the administra- 
tive center for the whole of the Soviet Union. They have 
an annual turnover of over eleven billion dollars, which is 
several times larger than the expenditure of the United 
States Government or the business of the U. S. Steel Corpo- 

The cooperatives conduct some 55 per cent of the whole- 
sale trade of Russia, 62 per cent of the retail trade and 
10 per cent of the foreign trade. They buy more than a 
third of the grain of Russia, 90 per cent of the butter, and 
sell over 60 per cent of the cotton goods. The Consumers 
cooperatives supply rural consumers with industrial prod- 
ucts, the cities with agricultural produce, and they buy and 
market the peasants' grain. They deal almost exclusively 
in necessities. Often the cooperative is the only store in a 
village, while there are hundreds of them in a single large 
city. They charge but 2 per cent profit and constitute a 
gigantic socialized business. 

/ The British and most of the European cooperatives have 
followed the example of the Rochdale Pioneers in charging 
market prices and declaring relatively large dividends to the 
purchasers. The Russian cooperatives, however, sell almost 
at cost and undersell the private traders from 15 to 30 per 
cent or more in price. They are given large powers and 
privileges by the state and in turn offer privileges to their 
members, where membership is often the only guarantee of 
getting even a limited supply of articles of which there is a 
shortage. The future of Russian trade probably belongs 


Increasingly to them. During the last four years their trade 
turnover has quadrupled, the state trading organizations 
have doubled, while private trading has grown steadily less, 
being heavily taxed both at wholesale and retail. In 1923 
Lenin said: "The sole remaining task to us has been to 
secure a real cooperative alliance of the population/' The 
work of the cooperatives is furthered by the Government, 
the Communist Party and the trade unions. The coopera- 
tives also conduct a wide cultural work. 1 

The Agricultural cooperatives endeavor to fill the same 
role as those of Denmark, though they are not as yet so 
advanced or effective. They market the peasants' produce, 
provide machinery and fertilizers, seek to increase produc- 
tion and improve agricultural methods. Their central organ- 
ization is the Selskosoyus. They sell about one-fifth of the 
agricultural machinery and market 16.5 per cent of the 
farmers' produce. They conduct schools and provide over 
1500 scientific agricultural experts. They conduct over 
4000 stations for seed selection, 8000 machine renting sta- 
tions and rent out many thousands of tractors. 

The more than 19,948 Handicraft cooperatives enrolled 
1,760,000 members in 1930. They supply raw materials 
and market the product of the handicraft members, to whom 
the government renders every possible assistance. They also 

1 The Centrosoyus of the Consumers organizations maintains 58 travel- 
ing instructors and 2,336 connected with the local unions, with 75 educa- 
tional institutions attended by over 9,500 students. They publish a central 
organ and many local newspapers, magazines, periodicals and bulletins. 
Over ten million dollars a year is appropriated for their cultural work. 
It would require a small volume adequately to describe it. 


publish papers, magazines, books and pamphlets. Altogether 
the cooperatives play an increasingly important role in the 
socialization of both peasant and artisan labor. They are 
helping to develop the cooperative spirit in the whole Rus- 
sian people. 

Foreign Trade and Russian Dumping 

The centralization of foreign trade in the hands of the 
government gives Russia a capacity for bulk export which 
creates a very significant situation in many industries. 
Russia, with her immense reserves of oil, has shown her 
power to undersell in the petrol markets. She could do the 
same in timber, woodpulp and matches from her enormous 
resources. The harvest of 1930 made her a factor by her 
export of grain to many countries. And it must be remem- 
bered that she is only at the beginning of a vast process of 
the mechanization and industrialization of agriculture where 
her resources and her unity of action are alike incomparable. 
In Germany the cartels have shown something of the effi- 
ciency of centralized purchase and sale. The British Do- 
minions have created valuable export boards and Great 
Britain is about to do the same with coal. Japan's govern- 
ment action in the cotton trade has already been disastrous 
for Lancashire; indeed her foreign trade is today probably 
more than double what it would have been without the 
effective aid and support of the government. But all these 
are piecemeal and fractional compared with the Soviets* 
growing power. 


This centralized control in Russia gives to each individual 
trade the advantage of dealing with the world as a whole 
as customer or buyer, and it links up the commercial tactics 
of one trade with others. There is always danger in bu- 
reaucracy but there is also strength in unity. This gives 
Russia a power possessed by no other country. It may be 
brought to bear for or against any country as an economic 

America and Europe have been much exercised over the 
alleged dumping of Russian products at prices so low that 
they are said to menace both the farmer and manufacturer. 
As Russian exports are likely to increase during the next 
decade it may be useful to consider the real facts of the case. 

Several things must be borne in mind before hastily judg- 
ing regarding dumping. In the first place we must not 
swallow too credulously either Russian propaganda or coun- 
ter propaganda which is often not only alarmist but bitter 
and prejudiced. We must remember that dumping is no 
new thing. It finds a recognized place in the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica. For the last decade or two American dumping 
has been the complaint of Europe. Dumping has its omi- 
nous side for certain trades which may suffer thereby, but 
on the other hand anything that decreases the cost of grain 
and of bread may also benefit the consumer. 

The outbreak of dumping at a time when the world 
market was in the worst possible state to absorb forced sales 
can only be attributed to the urgency of Russia's capital 
requirements. An objective consideration of the actual facts 
of Russian trade would hardly give ground for alarm. 


Russia is not a great trading nation like the United States, 
for her entire foreign trade amounts to less than two per 
cent of the world's total. Her total exports to the United 
States are far exceeded by her purchases here. For the 
Soviet fiscal year in 1930, while her sales in the United 
States were only $32,000,000, her purchases aggregated 
$145,000,000. During the six months period when Russia 
was accused of dumping, her purchases in the United States 
were more than six and one-half times her exports. During 
the first half of 1930 the Soviet Union was the sixth best 
foreign customer of the United States, while in the pre- 
ceding year her rating was only sixteenth. During Russia's 
fiscal year ending September 30, 1930, the increase of her 
trade balance in favor of America was thirty to one. 1 

Russia is accused of dumping "huge quantities" of grain, 
coal, lumber, pulpwood, manganese and other commodities 
which are said to demoralize American industry. At one 
and the same time stories are circulated of Russia's complete 
collapse and of her prodigious dumping. Compared to her 
pre-war grain exports, averaging annually about eleven 
million tons, her exports during the past year have been less 
than a third of this amount. Throughout the summer the 
Soviet press gave accurate official reports of the progress of 
the crop. 

The operations in wheat in question were conducted by 
the All-Russian Textile Syndicate on the Chicago grain 
market on September 9, 10 and 11, 1930. The total amount 

1 During the year ending September 30, 1930, Russia's exports increased 
$1,250,000 and her imports $37,350,000 over the preceding year. 


of the sales was only 7,765,000 bushels out of 180,000,000 
bushels sold. Canada had been hedging or selling futures 
to protect its own wheat stocks against the possible decline 
in prices due to the huge over-supply of the world. As 
Edward Jerome Dies says in his Wheat Pit: "Hedging is 
simply another form of insurance. It is a commercial price 
insurance which protects the owner of grain against price 
fluctuations. It makes dealing in actual grain a safe busi- 
ness." The price of wheat, with many other commodities, 
had been declining progressively for more than a year. The 
All-Russian Textile Syndicate would be the last to desire to 
lower the price. While the Syndicate sold wheat futures 
for less than $7,000,000 it has purchased in America 
$262,000,000 worth of cotton, $5,000,000 worth of sugar 
and $2,500,000 worth of machinery, which has been bene- 
ficial to American trade and to the American farmer. 

The Bulletin of the National City Bank says : "Everybody 
seems to have forgotten that only a few weeks ago charges 
were made that the Canadians were selling short on the 
Chicago market. The truth about it all is that Chicago is 
the greatest hedging market for wheat in the world. . . . 
Hedging operations on the Chicago market seldom contem- 
plate the shipment of wheat to Chicago. . . . This is the 
season of the year when the Russian government is acquir- 
ing grain from its State farms or the peasant growers. It 
may desire to hedge its holdings promptly, as protection 
against a decline. . . . Hedge sales on the Chicago market 
in anticipation of actual distribution would be following the 
usual practice in the grain trade. . . . Short selling like 


any contract engagement is an act of business judgment. 
Since sales and purchases are being made by many persons 
and form a continuous stream of business there is no reason 
for doubting that on the whole they practically offset and 
cancel each other. On the whole they are beneficial to pro- 
ducers as broadening the market. 

"It cannot be doubted that the publicity given to the Rus- 
sian short sales and importance attributed to them have 
exerted an unfavorable influence upon wheat prices. It is 
interesting to note that among the advocates of extreme 
measures to prevent the 'dumping' of foreign wheat in the 
United States are the leading advocates of the various pro- 
posals for 'dumping' American products on foreign markets, 
as embodied in the McNary-Haugen Bill and the export 
debenture proposition. . . . We confess to skepticism 
toward representations that under these circumstances they 
deliberately and designedly sell their products for less than 
they might obtain. , . . We doubt that they intend to enrich 
the capitalist countries by giving something for nothing or 
on any better terms than seem to be necessary. They are 
wanting goods which they cannot produce and are striving 
to get them by the only means available to them. Nor are 
we very much alarmed about what they may do when they 
have developed their organization and become strong, effi- 
cient and well-equipped/' 1 

Likewise the "huge" American imports of Soviet coal 
amounted to approximately one-tenth of one per cent of the 

1 Bulletin of the National City Bank, October, 1930. 


American production. They consisted of special grade 
anthracite which is sold to the American distributor at a 
figure above the American price. 1 

American imports of timber and pulpwood from Russia 
were only one per cent of our total imports of these products 
and one-tenth of one per cent of the value of mill cut timber 
in the United States. 2 American paper mills have to import 
over 50 per cent of their supply of pulpwood and are in 
danger of a possible Canadian monopoly. Soviet pulpwood 
imports have been small in quantity and often command a 
higher price than Canadian pulpwood, but they tend to break 
the monopoly and lower prices for the American consumer. 

In manganese ore, which has long been required by the 
American steel industry, the Russian Chiaturi fields have 
been a major source of supply for half a century. American 
mines are only able to furnish some 6.95 per cent of the 
required supply while Russia has furnished 47 per cent in 
spite of the duty which amounts to some 74 per cent. Soviet 
ore, far from being dumped, commands a high price. A 

1 Soviet anthracite of special grade is sold in Boston at more than $2.00 
per ton above the mine price of American anthracite. The total produc- 
tion of coal in the United States is over 600,000,000 tons, of anthracite 
76,640,000. The imports from Russia during the year according to our 
Department of Commerce were only 113,170 tons. Russian miners receive 
a money wage of 36 cents an hour, those in Great Britain 28 cents an 
hour. Allowing for the value of social services, insurance, etc., Russian 
miners receive 54 cents an hour compared to 3L5 cents for British miners. 

a Department of Commerce figures for 1929 were $872,217 for imports 
of wood and manufactures therefrom. The United States produces little 
spruce and imported spruce sells at 30 j>er cent higher than our own 
domestic soft woods. 


similar situation is found in imports of matches and candy 
from Russia. 

Stories have been successfully circulated in America that 
imports of lumber, pulpwood, etc., were the product of con- 
vict or forced labor. Workers in Russia are normally em- 
ployed through public employment exchanges in which labor 
organizations have a direct voice. Seasonally peasants are 
employed in winter in the northern forests scattered over 
hundreds of miles and along rivers. Such scattered units 
could not successfully be composed of convicts. The total 
number of all convicts in Russia engaged in labor is very 
small, less than one per cent of Russia's working force. For 
the small fraction of her export trade she has no need to 
employ convict labor. Reputable American importers who 
have visited the industries from which imports are derived 
have described the labor conditions in affidavits and denied 
the use of convict labor. Nearly a thousand American engi- 
neers and technicians in Russia are witnesses of their 

Unfortunately there are many who do not really desire to 
know the facts in the case. Wild rumors and false fears 
have a way of obtaining strange credence as in the case of 
our being victimized by our own propaganda concerning the 
Germans in wartime. Like a superhuman personal devil 
the Germans were everywhere, they could do anything, they 
commanded unlimited sums of money. There is the same 
amazing appeal to fear and credulity today regarding Rus- 
sia. A few interested persons by a little carefully directed 


propaganda can make an effective appeal to prejudice and 
an approach to wartime hysteria. 

The writer wishes to bear personal testimony that, apart 
from the handling under the G. P. U. of political and 
religious prisoners which he has elsewhere described and 
condemned, the Russian penal system on the whole is prob- 
ably the most modern, rational and humane of any in the 
world. The entire plan is based not on the vindictive but 
upon the redemptive principle. In view of the open dis- 
grace of many American prisons and their crying need of 
reform it would appear almost hypocritical for Americans to 
raise an outcry against prison labor In Russia. It would, 
however, be well worth while if it could eventually lead to 
the appointment of a commission which, after making a 
thorough study of conditions of prisons and of convict labor 
in Russia, could make a comparative study of the penal 
system of the United States with a view to the introduction 
of sweeping and much-needed reforms in this country. 

Such a commission is the last thing that many would 
wish. It is easier to launch a series of attacks based on 
clumsy "documents " of unknown origin, 1 like the forged 
Zinoviev letter against the MacDonald Government or those 
connected with the alleged nationalization of women to 
which we shall refer later. 

1 Some have purported to show that the Amtorg Trading Corporation 
was fomenting political conspiracies in the United States and spreading 
"propaganda." According to these reports officers of Amtorg were 
engaged in smuggling into the United States Swiss watch movements 
valued at less than $1,000, while hazarding the ruin of their legitimate 
business of $150,000,000 a year. 



Through this remarkable triumvirate of the Communist 
Party, the Soviet Government, as the first Communist world 
state, and the Comintern or Third International, the dicta- 
torship of the organized proletariat, proposes to extend its 
sway in widening circles from an inner, all-powerful, domi- 
nating group, to the final anticipated regime of a world 
communist society. As stated in its Constitution: "The 
directive principle of the organizational structure of the 
Party is democratic centralisation." Behind this word 
"democratic" there is in theory the will of the g'rowingly 
organized and articulate proletarian workers, and in practice 
the delegated power of the organized Communist Party of 
Russia, now numbering, with its probationers, 1,852,090. 1 
Below these Party members are the 2,466,000 Komsomols, 
or senior members of the Youth Movement, and 3,301,458 
Pioneers and Octobrists, or junior members, which with the 
trade unions will furnish the majority of recruits prepared 
for future membership in the Party. The periodic "cleans- 
ings" of this body, like the annual pruning of a vine, are 
designed to keep the Party small and limit its numbers to a 

1 Statistics furnished by Statistical Department of the Gosplan, August, 
1930. Of these a little more than 1,200,000 are full members and over 
600,000 are candidates. 



really vital, working, loyal membership, continually purged 
of dead wood. 1 

At its base the Party begins with a nucleus or cell in each 
village, factory, or organization wherever there are three or 
more members, and from its 50,000 local branches leads up 
to a highly centralized directive center, or political bureau. 
Thus the "voluntary centralism" of the Party focusses power 
in a very small group. There are nine full members of the 
inner, all-powerful political bureau, dominant among whom 
is Stalin, Secretary General of the Communist Party. This 
Party influences and largely dominates the Soviet Govern- 
ment of Russia, the trade unions and their world organiza- 
tion called the Profintern; and the Comintern or Third In- 
ternational. The whole plan lends itself to a powerful and 
effective centralization, yet also to constant touch with and 
the democratic discussion of the masses. Most questions 
may be referred to the rank and file for decision. Before 
every congress there is a thorough debate leading down to 
every cell and soviet group in Russia. 

In the whole organization the individual matters little; 
the cause, the workers of the world and the Revolution, all 
represented by the Party, are everything. The individual 
seems almost a cipher until the social unit of the Revolution 
and its organization are placed before him and give him sig- 
nificance. There is a close parallel between the constitution 

1 The first article of the Constitution of the Communist Party reads : 
"Everyone who subscribes to the party program, works in one of its or- 
ganizations, submits to party decisions and pays membership dues is 
considered a party member." Article 1:1 of the Constitution adopted at 
the Fourteenth Congress of the Party in December, 1925. 


of the Communists and the Jesuits. Each Jesuit owes strict 
and absolute obedience to his superior; while each communist 
individual and group, is responsible to the immediately supe- 
rior organ of authority. Both organizations seem to believe 
that the end justifies the means and that the individual mat- 
ters little compared to the great end of a common humanity, 
or the elect class of it that is to them significant. Both may 
be flamingly intolerant, both dogmatic, but none can question 
the intelligence or earnestness of either. 

To understand how the communists were able to achieve 
such a powerful central control, coupled with such a wide 
base of democratic discussion and organization of the 
workers and peasants, we must recall their history. Radical 
ideas from foreign countries began to spread among the 
student dass in Russia in the sixties of the last century, but 
the intellectuals were unable to touch the individualistic 
peasants. After 1872 the first small groups of organized 
workers marked the beginning of a labor movement in Rus- 
sia, but it was later savagely suppressed by the Czarist police. 
In 1898 a group of nine men representing six organizations 
organized the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. 
Lenin devised a plan for centralized control and in 1900 
organized a workers' party paper called Iskra, the Spark, 
which kindled leaders of local groups of revolutionaries 
throughout Russia, and later throughout Europe when many 
of them were exiled. 1 

1 The early program covered fourteen points including "self-determina- 
tion for all peoples, separation of the church from the state and the school 
from the church, the eight-hour day, and a legislative organ composed 


When a break in the party occurred Lenin led the major- 
ity, or "Bolshevik," section, demanding strict centralization 
and an uncompromising Marxian program of the dictator- 
ship of the proletarian workers, refusing to cooperate with 
the bourgeois Liberals as advocated by the Menshevik, or 
minority section. 1 At the second revolution of November 7, 
1917, this small, resolute party became the new rulers of 
Russia. Some of them believed they could not remain in 
power for six months and it looked for a long time as if the 
government could not endure. Allied intervention, however, 
consolidated all loyal elements in the defense of Russia 
against foreign invasion, and a policy of sagacity and force 
led to the establishment of what is now, apparently, one of 
the strongest and most stable governments in the world. 

1 The first struggle for power came in 1905 after the defeat of the 
Japanese war when on "bloody Sunday' 3 the workers were shot down 
before the Czar's palace. Without a strong middle class in Russia and 
unsupported by the peasants and the army the revolt of the workers 
failed and a period of merciless reaction set in. From this time the 
movement was driven underground and the revolutionary leaders divided 
their time between prison and exile in Russia, and activities throughout 
the capitals of Europe, with a dwindling party reduced finally to a hand- 
ful of resolute leaders. In 1905 the party had claimed three million ad- 
herents, in 1906 one million, in 1907 three-quarters of a million, in 1908 
174,000, in 1910 46,000. Yet seven years later, in the name of all work- 
ers, peasants and soldiers, a group of not over a hundred fearless leaders 
seized the government of the largest undivided empire in the world. The 
provisional government was overthrown by the Petrograd Soviet of work- 
ers, which handed over power to the second all-Russian congress of 
Soviets. There were at this time some 50,000 members of the party. 
Soviet Rule in Ritssia, p. 695. 

of representatives of the people." It concluded: "the necessary condition 
of the social revolution is the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is, the 
gaining by the latter of such political authority as would permit it to 
suppress any opposition by the exploiters/* Soviet Rule in Russia, p. 691, 


In 1923 the name Russia was dropped and the U. S. S. R. y 
or Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was adopted, in 
which Russia proper becomes only one of a nucleus of 
autonomous republics, to which other countries may be added 
later in this proposed world organization. 1 The organiza- 
tion of the Communist Party is closely parallel to that of the 
Soviet Government itself. The unwieldy congress of the 
Party and its central committee are further centralized in its 
two powerful sub-committees for political and organizing 
activity in the political bureau of nine full members; 2 an 
organization bureau of twelve full members, with a secre- 
tariat of five; 3 Stalin as Secretary General is a member of 
each, with a small group of interlocking directors. His 
power is enormous. He is the chief of the paid Party 

a At the same time the name of the party was changed to the "All- 
Union Communist Party." At the time of the Revolution two-thirds of 
the members of the Party were workmen, nearly a third were from the 
intelligentsia and salaried workers, and only 7.6 per cent were peasants. 
By 1928 there were 60.5 per cent workers, 19.2 per cent peasants and 
19.7 per cent were employees and others. Of these 73.2 per cent are in 
towns and 26.8 per cent in the villages. Among the adult population 
about 1.35 per cent belong to the Communist Party. 

* Lenin stated at the Ninth Party Congress in 1921 : "All questions of 
domestic and foreign policy were settled by the polit-bureau," Report of 
Ninth Congress, p. 90. There is also a central revision committee and a 
central control commission to secure for the Party "actual supervision 
over the state and economic organs." 

3 Theoretically the supreme organ of the Party is the all-Union con- 
gress which usually adopts reports prepared in advance by the inner 
groups, as is the case also in regional areas. The same is probably true 
of most political parties in the world. In the interim between congresses 
a central committee of 71 members and SO candidates is supreme. The 
Constitution of the Party reads: "The central committee organizes for 
political work a polit-bureau, for general administrative organization 
work an org-bureau, and for the current work of organization and exe- 
cution a secretariat" Constitution, Section IV: Article 26. 


workers throughout the country. He is in close touch with 
the Party organizations and can reward his followers or 
penalize his enemies. He may promote or demote the prin- 
cipal officials. He may exile or banish his enemies like 
Trotzky. But above all he must know in advance what 
policies will be approved by the supreme bodies in authority 
and by the workers and peasants of the country as a whole. 
He must always keep a majority of the Party behind him. 
Herein lies his power, and also the check or guarantee that 
he shall not individually misuse his power. 

By sagacity rather than by force the Communist Party Is 
everywhere in real control. Thus Stalin speaks of the Party 
as the "helm of the government." * To imagine its power 
think of one political party in the United States which 
should include practically all who have or desire to have the 
gift of leadership in political, industrial or social life. In- 
clude all leaders in politics, chambers of commerce, women's 
organizations, labor unions and even student and youth 
"organizations. Organize this party into a widely demo- 
cratic body for discussion and the discovery and creation of 
public opinion, yet as a highly centralized body for effective 
execution, after policies have been agreed upon by a majority 

1 Fifteenth Party Congress, 1927. Zmoviev declared at the Twelfth 
Congress that the real dictatorship was that of the Party while the 
Soviet Government was but the fifth wheel. He said: "The central com- 
mittee of the party is in fact not only the central committee of the party 
but also of the Soviets, of the trade unions, of the co-operatives, and of 
the entire workers* class. Therein lies its principal role; therein the dic- 
tatorship of the party is expressed." Stenographic Report of the Twelfth 
Congress, p. 207. Batsell, p. 709. Stalin and other communists would 
not agree that the Government is a fifth wheel. 


in any supreme organ of authority. Make this the one and 
only legally permitted Party; place its members in every 
important office, position and strategic locality, and you will 
have some conception of the position and power of the Com- 
munist Party in Russia. 

Let us always remember also that this organization is not 
in the midst of a highly developed, cultured, politically 
minded, western democracy with long traditions of dearly 
bought liberty. It rules among a backward, undeveloped, 
primitive, agricultural, semi-oriental people, accustomed to 
centuries of tyranny, where life can be simplified, standard- 
ized, organized and unified to a degree that would be impos- 
sible and inconceivable in western Europe or America. 
Apart from a few leaders the best communist, like the best 
soldier, is unthinking and obedient. Among such a people 
life has been repeatedly simplified and unified by some great 
movement like Islam in Asia. It is this failure to realize 
the total dissimilarity of Russia to the democratic countries 
that leads the West erroneously to think that such a dictator- 
ship cannot possibly endure, and causes the leaders of Russia 
to envisage a speedy revolution in other lands. The two are 
poles apart in mutual misunderstanding. 

The Communist Party ramified in thousands of cells in 
factories, villages, trade unions, cooperatives, etc., seeks to 
guide and direct all these organizations in the interests of 
the workers and peasants themselves. They have the best 
minds, the practical education, the experience, and the polit- " 
ical, economic and financial power to make their program 
effective. The policies of a political boss, or gang, or cor- 


rupt political ring are usually selfish, to exploit the masses 
for their own power and profit. But this Party, always of, 
for and by the workers, however great its centralization, 
sternly eliminates personal, private profit and punishes with 
death the grafter who betrays the workers and their cause. 
In this spirit the policy of domination is quite frankly 
acknowledged. 1 

In reality, as we have seen, the most influential governing 
body in the Party and in all Russia, is not the unwiddy con- 
gress or Central Committee, but the inner group of the 
political bureau, composed of nine members and eight alter- 
nates, which meets constantly, whose decisions are binding 
for the Party, and which largely determines the policies of 
the government, the trade union movement and the Third 
International. It may help to visualize it to draw a triangle 
with the political bureau and the Communist Party at the 
apex, one line of influence extending to the Soviet Govern- 

1 Stalin says: "No important political or organizational problem is 
ever decided by our Soviets and other mass organizations without direc- 
tives from the Party. In this sense we may say that the dictatorship of 
the proletariat is, substantially, the 'dictatorship' of its vanguard, the 
'dictatorship' of its Party, as the force which guides the proletariat." 
Leninism, p. 33. He says also ; "To all responsible positions ia the Gov- 
ernment the Communist Party tries to nominate its candidates, and in 95 
out of 100 cases those candidates are elected. Naturally, these candi- 
dates will follow out the theories of Communism in which they believe, 
and the directions of the Party. Therefore, a direct Communist leader- 
ship results . . . Here in Russia the Party openly admits that it does 
guide and give general direction to the government." Soviet Russia in 
the Second Decade, p. 153. Party members are concentrated in positions 
of strategic importance. In the village Soviets 90.6 per cent of the mem- 
bers are non-party. In the Central Executive Committee only 35 pei 
cent are non-party, while on the management of the government trusts 
only about 25 per cent are not members of the Party, 


ment and the other to the Third International. The political 
bureau is the super-General Staff with full power. 

The Government of Russia. 

A soviet is simply a committee. The soviet system was 
not created by the Communist Party. It came into existence 
as a series of emergency strike committees organized in 
factories and the army in 1905. Though suppressed at the 
time, they were revived just before the Revolution, and "all 
power to the Soviets" became the rallying cry of the Com- 
munists. It became the organizational committee system of 
the new "Workers and Peasants Government/' Everyone 
in Russia who is above eighteen years of age has the right 
to vote except the disfranchised who constitute a little over 
5 per cent of the adult population. Representation in the 
Soviets or councils is occupational rather than territorial. 
Each factory, organization, city or village has its soviet or 

Just as the organization of the Party rises in a kind of 
step pyramid from the democratic base which includes all 
the members, to the highest block of the political bureau and 
the secretariat, so the Soviet Government has a parallel 
organization. The supreme organ of authority at the base 
of the pyramid which is supposed to represent all workers 
and peasants is the All-Union Congress of Soviets, with 
some 1500 members, which meets at least once in two years. 
During the interval between congresses the supreme au- 
thority devolves upon -the Central Executive Committee 


which would correspond in other countries to the two houses 
of a legislature. The Council of the Union, of 371 mem- 
bers, is elected by the Congress from representatives of the 
seven constituent republics which now make up the U. S. 
S. R. The Council of Nationalities, of 139 members, is 
formed of delegates from each of the autonomous republics 
and regions. This Central Executive with its two houses 
determines the general principles of the political and eco- 
nomic policy of the U. S. S. R. Between the sessions of 
this Central Executive Committee its Presidium of 21 mem- 
bers is the supreme legislative, executive and administrative 
organ of authority. The Council of People's Commissaries, 
is the executive and directive organ of the Central Executive 
Committee. 1 

^Another legal division of the government provided for by 
the Constitution is the G. P. U., an abbreviation for the 
State Political Department. 2 This is a secret service de- 
signed to combat counter-revolution and economic espionage 
and sabotage. In the early days of the revolution an Ex- 
traordinary Commission called the Cheka was formed. Its 
reputation was as unsavory as that of the similar tribunal 
during the terror of the French Revolution. 3 The Cheka 

1 It includes the Commissary for Agriculture, Finance, Labor, Interior, 
Justice, Workmen's and Peasants* Inspection, Education, Health, and 
Social Welfare. It is composed of 12 members and is similar to a cabinet 
in other countries but has even more power. It can pass emergency leg- 
islation subject to the later approval of the Central Executive Committee. 

2 After the formation of the U. S. S. R. in 1923 the word "unified 5 * 
was added, making the Russian form O. G. P. U. 

8 Martov at the Seventh Congress of Soviets in 1919 declared that it 
had become an "omnipotent authority of the organs of oppressing and 


with its odium and fear was abolished in 1922 and the more 
restricted and constitutional G. P. U. substituted. With all 
its restrictions it Is still probably the most powerful and 
dreaded police organization in the world. Stalin describes 
it as "the punitive organ of the soviet power, resembling the 
Comite de Salut Publique of the French Revolution. It rep- 
resents something like a military-political tribunal, consti- 
tuted to protect the revolution against the assaults of the 
counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie and its agents." The 
G. P. U. has its own separate armed force, its own prisons 
and its own secret courts. It has the right to arrest any one 
but must notify the attorney general of the Supreme Court 
within forty-eight hours, and must try the case within one 
month. In the special G. P. U. courts the accused is not 
allowed counsel, nor is he permitted to call witnesses in his 
own defense. 1 He is given a trial but it is secret. 

The G. P. U. is an agency of "class justice." It can best 
be understood under the conditions of a war psychosis such 
as prevailed during and after the French Revolution when 

1 The accused has the right of appeal to the attorney general or the 
Presidium, and a second appeal to the Central Executive Committee. In 
1922 to 1927 some 1500 were said to have been executed by the G. P. U., 
or an average of 300 per year. There were probably many more, but 
there is no way of checking the action of an unknown and dreaded secret 
fribunal by democratic process, nor Is it subject to public opinion. 

police administration. . . . The government was forced completely to 
surrender before the Cheka, placing at its will the life, liberty and honor 
of the citizens. The monstrous growth of the terror, the elimination of 
everything which resembled courts, and an uncontrolled rule of anarchy 
are the results of this policy." Soviet Rule in Russia, p. 482. 


its leaders feared their ancient foe of Bourbon oppression, 
and believed that they were fighting for social justice with 
the rest of the world against them. It can also be under- 
stood by the same war hysteria when the United States Gov- 
ernment under Attorney General Palmer issued warrants for 
the arrest of 6,500 aliens, and used agents provocateurs in 
hunting them. Even former Secretary of State Hughes 
admits this action "savored of the worst practices of 

It is obvious that the Soviet state has the same right to 
protect itself against sedition as any other. It will probably 
be found on careful study that its public penal system is 
one of the most advanced, the most modern and redemp- 
tive in the world. Even certain reformatories and rehabili- 
tation colonies for youth carried on by the G. P. U. are more 
scientific, more humane and successful than any that we 
know in any other country. Yet when the treatment of the 
old intelligentsia is remembered, some of them once the revo- 
lutionary leaders of Russia, when the practice of the secret 
courts of the G. P. U. dealing with political and religious 
prisoners is realized, no analogies, no explanation, no excuses 
will win the approval of the democratic world with its hard- 
won toleration and civil liberties, until this medieval agency 
of class justice, and sometimes of injustice, is brought out 
into the open light of day as among more advanced, civilized 
nations. A terror may subjugate Russia and be tolerated 
by the unthinking mass under the centralized few, but so 
long as it continues it wins the odium of the world. 

The Red Army and Navy have enrolled 562,000 officers 


and men since 1924. 1 The Red Army is a class weapon for 
the defense of the proletarian revolution. It is a conscript 
body from the working classes, 75 per cent peasants and 
15 per cent workers, but excludes all non-proletarian ele- 
ments which might not be in sympathy with the aims of the 
government. It places as much emphasis upon training in 
literacy and political ideology for communist citizenship as 
it does upon military drill. It is a far more loyal and effi- 
cient fighting force than the old army of the autocratic 
Czars. It is manifestly a defensive army in keeping with 
the Soviet's whole international policy. It has a strong 
infantry and a good cavalry complement, but it is weak in 
artillery, transport, aviation and in all technical branches. 
The navy is negligible, being inferior even to that of Ger- 
many or Spain. 

The Soviet Union is pouring its whole strength into eco- 
nomic rather than military development. As you see those 
tow-headed country boys in uniform in Russia, they are the 
least military looking of any army in Europe. It is an army 
that would be strong in retreat, but neither adequately 
equipped nor trained for strong offensive warfare. They 
could fall back before an invading army some six thousand 

1 The official strength of the Soviet army has been as follows : 

1920 3,538,000 

1921 4,110,000 

1922 1,590,000 

1923 703,000 

1924 562,000 

The Czarist army in peace-time strength numbered in 1913, 1,200,000, in 
1914, 1,800,000. The Soviets In World Affairs, by Louis Fischer, Vol. 
II, p. 758. 


miles if necessary, and then march back and recapture their 
lost territory as they did with Napoleon's retreating and 
decimated forces. There would be no more hope of invad- 
ing and conquering Russia, than the United States or 
Canada. Each would probably prove ultimately invulnerable 
to such military attack. 

An offensive military invasion by Soviet Russia for im- 
perialistic conquest would be a contradiction to the whole 
Marxian system, but not only the army but wellnigh the 
whole people would again rally to the defense of the Gov- 
ernment in the face of foreign invasion or intervention, 
accompanied by cruel and stupid atrocities that such a class 
war would inevitably call forth, as in 1918. Russian com- 
munists are averse to all international or imperialist wars, 
but they are not at all pacifistic. They believe in class war 
from within each country, where each nation shall follow 
the example of Russia itself when the time is ripe. 

Russia is adequately armed for defense in accordance with 
her policy. A comparison with the military strength of 
neighboring nations and of the industrial program of these 
nations shows where Russia is placing her emphasis. 1 It is 
not in military but in economic strength. 

Size of Soldiers Per 

Population Army 1000 Inhabitants 

France 40,743,000 673,000 16 

Italy 42,000,000 353,000 8 

Poland 29,589,000 270,000 9 

Roumania 17,153,000 325,000 18 

Soviet Union 160,000,000 562,000 3.5 

p. 760. See Europa Year Book, London, and World Almanac, 
1930, p. 231. 


In the United States 72 per cent of the national budget is 
devoted to military or war purposes. In Russia 63 per cent 
of the revenue is devoted to industrialization, 21 per cent to 
education and cultural purposes, 10 per cent to administra- 
tion and defence, and 6 per cent to remaining needs. 1 

The Third International. 

The Communist or Third International was founded on 
the ruins of its two predecessors in 1919. 2 At present it 
unites the Communist Parties in 66 nations, some 40 in 
Europe, 20 in the Orient and the remainder in North and 
South America. The first Congress in Moscow with 60 
delegates adopted frankly its constitution for the overthrow 
of capitalism and the setting up of soviet republics patterned 
upon that of Russia, looking toward a final world-wide 
International Soviet Republic to be established by means of 
world revolution. This frankly avowed policy is not denied 
by any responsible communist and is stated repeatedly in all 
their literature. 

Article I of the Constitution reads: "The new Interna- 
tional Workmen's Association is formed for the organiza- 
tion of joint action by the proletariats of various countries, 
who are struggling for the same aims: the overthrow of 
capitalism, the creation of a dictatorship of the proletariat 

*The Economist, London, November 1, 1930. 

2 The first international was established by Marx in London, in 1864. 
It was dissolved in 1876 after the split between Marx and Bakunin. The 
second international was formed in 1889, In 1915 the socialists who op- 
posed the war formed the nucleus of the new organization which, after 
the Russian Revolution of 1917, was finally organized in 1919, The 
second international of course remains in existence. 


and an International Soviet Republic for the complete abo- 
lition of classes and the realization of Socialism, the first 
steps toward a Communist society." 

The twenty-one points drafted by Lenin to indicate the 
duties of members of the Comintern or Third International 
are clear and uncompromising: 1. All propaganda must be 
genuinely communistic and agree with the program and de- 
cisions of the Comintern. 2. Reformist elements must be 
removed from the leadership of each labor movement and 
replaced by true communists. 3. The revolution must be 
prepared for as civil war approaches in every country. 

4. Propaganda must be carried on in each national army. 

5. Farmers and peasants must be prepared for the coming 
conflict. 6. Social pacifism must be unmasked and the revo- 
lutionary overthrow of capitalism anticipated. 7. There 
must be a clean break with all reformist or compromising 
policy. 8. Colonies and oppressed nations must be prepared 
for freedom. 9. Communist agitation must be carried on in 
every trade union movement. 10. The second, Amsterdam, 
"ydlow" trade union international must be opposed. 
11. Each member must subordinate his entire activities to 
the interests of the revolution. 12. Democratic centraliza- 
tion must control all parties. 13. Party cleansings must be 
frequent. 14. Every soviet republic must be supported by 
every party. IS. Each party must have a complete com- 
munist program in harmony with the Comintern. 16. All 
decisions of Comintern Congresses and the Executive Com- 
mittee are binding upon all the parties. 17. Every party 
must openly bear its name. 18. Party press organs must 


print all Comintern official documents. 19. All parties must 
call special conventions and inform local organizations of 
Comintern Congress decisions. 20. Central committees must 
be unambiguously for the Comintern. 21. All party mem- 
bers who reject the above conditions adopted by the Com- 
intern are to be expelled. 1 In the last World Congress in 
Moscow in 1928, 475 delegates representing 58 parties 
participated. The Executive Committee of 59 chooses a 
Presidium of 29 members, 13 of whom compose the Polit- 
ical Secretariat. 

Like the Party, the Third International has its iron dis- 
cipline and centralized control strongly resented by the ma- 
jority of trade union leaders of other countries such as the 
British. Communists from other nations represented in the 
Comintern or Third International would prefer to have its 
center "at the front" in some other capital such as Berlin, 
but only in Russia is it secure and legally recognized. As 
the Russian Party contributes most of the funds it naturally 
has a decisive voice in the decisions of the Executive 

Each communist in Russia pays 2 per cent of his income 
to the Party chest, and one quarter of any amount he re- 
ceives above the monthly Party maximum of 225 roubles, 
or $112.50. The Communist Party of each country for- 
wards a certain proportion of its funds to the Comintern. 
There is no evidence that it receives any financial support 

1 Theses of Lenin adopted by the Second Congress of Communist In- 
ternational, Moscow, 1920. The Communist International, No. 13, quoted 
by Batsell, p. 761. 


from the Soviet Government ; in a sense it does not need it. 
The budget for 1927 was officially stated at $700,000, re- 
ceived chiefly from the dues and contributions from member 
parties. 1 

The three countries where revolution is looked for most 
hopefully at present by Russian leaders are Germany, China 
and Poland. , Unrest in Germany will depend upon the extent 
to which her laboring class is reduced in its standard of 
living to pay reparations. India has its own political na- 
tionalist movement of which the Communists make up but 
a small and infinitesimal minority and have little influence. 
China furnishes in its civil war, chaos, banditry, famine and 
desperate economic need, the one country most ripe for 
regional communist dictatorship. It is in China also that the 
germ of communism seems to be the most virulent and 
violent, breaking out again and again into atrocities wher- 
ever communists, or local reds, or bandits gain control under 
the cloak of "communism." 

Many in capitalist countries have constantly and eagerly 
predicted the early downfall of the Soviet Government; 
while orthodox communists have hoped for speedy revolu- 
tion in other lands. Nowhere in Europe or North America, 
however, does there seem to be any likelihood of the early 
overthrow of the existing social order, whether in com- 

1 In 1927 the published administrative expenses were $297,529.52, while 
$345,103.42 were devoted to- subsidies of Party newspapers and litera- 
ture in various counties and their cultural, educational and propaganda 
work. Special help is given to those parties which are counted illegal in 
such countries as China and India, Poland, Hungary and the Balkans. 
See Pravda> Communist Party official newspaper for July 22, 1928. 


mimist Russia or the capitalistic nations. In both the wish 
is father to the thought. These two conflicting social orders 
are likely to exist side by side for a long time to come. 

Parallel to the organization of the Comintern Is the 
Profintern or Red Trade Union International which has 
claimed a membership of 13,862,209 members, 10,248,000 
of whom are in Russia. 1 This organization frankly aids 
strikes in other countries. During four years, 1924-1927, 
they made contributions totalling at least $316,495.49 in 
support of strikes in thirty countries, in addition to very 
large sums to the British Miners Strike in 1926. 2 

1 Other Communist Parties are reported to number, in Germany 125,000, 
Czechoslovakia 138,000,* China 75,000, France 56,000, Sweden 17,000, 
the United States 14,000, Great Britain 7,000. In most countries of 
Europe they have their legally elected representatives in parliament. 

2 International Trade Union Movement, Moscow, 1928, pp. 82-91, quoted 
in W. H. Chamberlin's excellent work, Soviet Russia, pp. 268-270. 

As we go to press the statements of this chapter have been confirmed 
by the dismissal of Rykov in December, 1930. Thus Stalin, who holds 
no office in the Soviet Government, but is all-powerful in the Party, is 
able without difficulty to dismiss Rykov, the brilliant Prime Minister, 
and to discipline the powerful trio of the "right deviation." Rykov, 
Bukharin and Tomsky remain members of the Communist Party Cen- 
tral Committee which is the supreme ruling body. In recent years the 
political bureau, however, has tended to become the supreme authority, 
holding the position of a European Cabinet backed by a majority in 



As we have seen, Russia offers an example of the most 
complete and continuing revolution in history. There is a 
new literature, a new art and education, a new conception of 
society, of law, of morality, of religion all seems new, 
even to the psychology and temperament of the people. In 
place of the fatalistic, casual, easy-going, undisciplined Slav, 
one now finds a release of energy, initiative and indomitable 
enterprise born of a crusading spirit. This has been strik- 
ingly manifest in the whole esthetic field. Unlike the Puri- 
tan, the communist has preserved and developed the artistic 
side of life. The revolution found a common expression in 
the political, economic and artistic fields. All were volcanic 
and bursting with energy. In Czarist days the repressed 
people, debarred from politics and undeveloped in economic 
life, found expression in the artistic sphere in literature, art 
and music. The new Russia, unrestrained, is expressing 
itself also in these fields. 

In no other country, unless it be Japan, has the esthetic 
side of life been so fostered and developed among the com- 
mon people. In no other country does one find the art 
galleries, the museums, the opera, concert and theatre, all of 
the highest quality, so thronged with working men. The 
huge art gallery of the Czar in Leningrad has been greatly 



enlarged. The art collections from the palaces of the nobles, 
like the palaces themselves are now all socialized and made 
available to the people. The government's concern and the 
people's appreciation for them is equally commendable. No 
country has better preserved its treasures of art and archae- 
ology. Even the churches and ecclesiastical structures in the 
Kremlin are being stripped of the vulgar modern coating 
of the later Czars and restored to their early classic beauty. 

The new literature bears the impress of the revolution 
and expresses its psychology. It is prevailingly creative, 
realistic, naturalistic, full of self-criticism, though still often 
youthful, crude and unfinished. It is still passing through a 
transitional stage of experimentalism. The new proletarian 
poetry, bursting with revolutionary enthusiasm, and believ- 
ing in the early triumph of the world revolution, expressed 
itself in songs of praise to labor, to the machine, to iron and 
steel, and titanic human muscles. It was naturally often 
materialistic and collectivism 

Art as well as literature voiced the revolution, at first in 
striking posters and cartoons which have been a powerful 
factor of propaganda for the common people. Art is con- 
ceived as the instrument for "the socialization of the emo- 
tions." Both art for art's sake, and art as a medium of 
propaganda are recognized in Russia. John.Dewey was im- 
pressed by "the contrast between the popular notion of uni- 
versal absorption in materialistic economy and the actual 
facts of devotion to the creation of living art and to uni- 
versal participation in the processes and the products of art." 

The revolution has transformed the Russian theatre. Po~ 


litically restricted before the war, it was immediately flung 
wide open to the masses. Not only the brilliant naturalism 
of Stanislavsky's Art Theatre in Moscow and the genius of 
Meyerhold's revolutionary theatre appeal to the metropolitan 
population, but the strong dramatic instinct of the Russian 
character is expressed in the remotest villages. The Russian 
has a natural gift for and an almost religious consecration 
to the dramatic. The theatre touches him deeply. The 
villain of capitalism and the hero of communism play their 
parts in an infinite variety of settings on the Russian stage. 
Perhaps no other people could have so dramatized the revo- 
lution and could so embody it in art, in architecture, in sculp- 
ture, on the stage, in the motion picture and in literature. 
No other nation has made the cinema such an instrument of 
education, with such a powerful political and social message. 
Instead of a merely commercialized amusement and a social 
menace, it is made a vast educational force for teaching the 
socialized conceptions and building the kind of character they 
desire. Lenin had said that "of all our arts I believe that the 
cinema is the most important/' 

Even music has been made a medium of expression of the 
revolution, especially for the newly awakened racial minori- 
ties. The "International" was ready for adoption as the 
Soviet national hymn. At every large gathering or celebra- 
tion among the Russians it takes the place of "God Save the 
King" for a British audience. The Youth Movement has 
its fresh songs and is finding dramatic and artistic expres- 
sion, while workmen's songs have been produced in great 


With the effort to eliminate religion, art in all its forms 
will probably find increasing expression and value in Soviet 
Russia. Its chief limitation and handicap is likely to be that 
of the narrowing, materialistic, utilitarian character of the 
dogma upon which the continuing revolution is based. 


The new education is in striking contrast to the old. Two 
decades ago we found an educational system in Czarist Rus- 
sia designed for the privileged classes. 1 Higher education 
was prevailingly cultural and individualistic, often romantic 
and apart from life. It frequently produced introverts of 
the Hamlet type. The new education is experimental, social, 
practical and utilitarian, producing a new psychological type 
of extroverts, with a tremendous release of enthusiasm, of 
creative energy, of courage and confidence in life. The old 
system was for a special class. The new is for an enlight- 
ened mass, a whole nation ultimately to be educated. 

No country has a system of education that is a more uni- 
fied whole, logically based upon a complete philosophy of 
life, vitally integrated and interwoven with the interests of 
the people. As Professor Paul Monroe of Columbia Uni- 
versity observes: "Nowhere does this enthusiasm for and 
belief in an educational program so 'permeate every.element 

1 Before the war the proportion of illiteracy among army recruits was 
among the French, 4 per cent, the British, one per cent, the Germans, 
one-twentieth of one per cent, the Russians, 62 per cent. In the latter 
country only 3.3 per cent of the entire population was in school. Educa- 
tion in Soviet Russia, p. 16. 


in society and so control and direct the action of those in 
authority." 1 

The whole process is socialized. Based upon a consistent 
theory, the school is made responsible for instruction, but all 
life is harnessed in the process of practical education the 
factory, the farm, the shop, the museum, the theatre and 
opera, the athletic field, the cooperative, the trade union, the 
home, the city and the village all are brought to bear upon 
the education of youth. John Dewey speaks of the total 
situation in Russia as "an experiment by all means the most 
interesting one going on upon our globe." 2 

The old education aimed at the support of the Czarist 
status quo of church and state, the new seeks the creation of 
a cooperative commonwealth by the molding of youth and 
the re-education of a whole people upon a new principle of 
life. With one great social objective the system aims at a 
new economic order, the socialization of its political life, and 
the evolution of the culture of all the autonomous peoples of 
Russia in their own language and traditions. According to 
Lenin's widow, Krupskaia, the task of the present regime is 
"to enable every human being to obtain personal cultivation, 
to share to the fullest in all the things that give value to 
human life." 

It is natural that all education in Russia should be under 
the control of the state for its consciously chosen ends. In 

1 **The history of education offers no parallel to the transformation 
that has been worked in the educational system of Russia," Prof. Counts 
in The Culture Program of Soviet Russia by Paul Monroe, p. 583, Car- 
negie Endowment Series, No. 255. 

2 Impressions of Soviet Russia, p. 114. 


other countries education is often more unconsciously, while 
in Russia it is always consciously, propaganda. "American- 
ization" programs for foreigners and patriotic ceremonies 
connected with the flag have a legitimate end in the United 
States. In America children are taught reverence for the 
Constitution, in Russia for Communism. "In Russia the 
propaganda is in behalf of a burning public faith the uni- 
versal good of universal humanity. In consequence, propa- 
ganda is education and education is propaganda." 1 The 
Marxian system is basic everywhere. The teaching of 
science is frankly designed to make materialists of the chil- 
dren. An elaborate pre-school system seeks to develop crea- 
tive activity and cooperative and collectivist habits. The 
nursery and the school probably play a larger part in the 
training of the children than does the home. 

The central idea in Russian education is the "complex sys- 
tem." As society is conceived as a complex whole in which 
each individual functions socially, so the school should rep- 
resent a cross section of this concrete life. It is held that 
the subject of instruction should not be some isolated 
academic topic like history or economics, nor some trivial 
project, but some actual whole situation or complex, such as 

1 John Dewey, Impressions of Soviet Russia, p. 56. Lenin writes : "The 
school, apart from politics, is a lie, a hypocrisy. Bourgeois society in- 
dulged in this lie, covering up the fact that it was using the schools as a 
means of domination, by declaring that the school was politically neutral, 
and in the service of all. We must declare openly what it concealed, 
namely the political function of the school. While the object of our 
previous struggle was to overthrow the bourgeoisie, the aim for the new 
generation is much more complex : it is to construct Communist society." 
Quoted by John Dewey in Impressions of Soviet Russia, p, 82. 


sanitation, home economics, the school, village or city. They 
pass from life to knowledge, they seek to learn by doing. 
The excursion is an instrument. Nature, museums, shops 
and libraries are all classrooms for the study of life. 

A new departure in the soviet school system aims to at- 
tach each school from the secondary grades to the university 
to some industrial, agricultural or other institution. Thus 
the factory and the farm are made a part of the school sys- 
tem, and the school becomes a part of the industrial system. 
It is a vital part of the national life. The old university 
has given place to a number of institutes and factory schools. 

Another characteristic of Russian education is self-gov- 
ernment, and the absence of external restriction from an 
early age. Discipline is maintained by democratic organiza- 
tions of the students themselves. Pupils in lower grades 
have a degree of liberty corresponding to university students 
in other lands. The writer has met with high school students 
from rural districts who were studying in the nearest city 
under their own effective and complete self-government and 
self-imposed moral standards, with no older person in charge 
of them. The Russians believe that students taught to think 
for themselves can be trusted. In higher institutions the 
curriculum is determined by the joint representatives of the 
organized faculty and organized students, with the former 
in the majority. They are concerned not only with weeding 
out of the course students intellectually unfit for the work, 
but even more in eliminating faculty members incompetent 
to teach. Apart from the Marxian system, education is con- 
ceived not as something handed down by authority to be 


imposed upon the young, but as a joint sharing of experi- 
ence by the older and younger generations in a democratic 
process. We shall deal in a later section with the Marxian 

The Czarist Russian student organizations were ordi- 
narily forbidden by the state. Today they are a vital part 
of the system of education. They organize for student 
activities such as sports or discipline, in their academic work, 
in economic cooperatives or trade unions, and in political 
youth organizations. All are training grounds in citizen- 
ship. One can hardly find an institution where students do 
not take part in the management or administration of the 
institution or of its activities. This is bound to have a bear- 
ing on the democratization of the future Russian state. An 
ultimate tyranny would not dare to educate its youth, 
workers and peasants in self-government. Whatever its ob- 
ject there is a vast process of democratization going on in 
Russia today which may determine its future. 

There are no barriers of race but there are of class in a 
system conceived as a proletarian instrument. Dr. Jowett 
once thought of Balliol College, Oxford, as designed to teach 
an English gentleman to become an English gentleman. In 
contrast to this, the motto appearing over the entrance to 
Moscow University is "Science for the Toilers.'* 

The rabfacs, or workers' high schools, provide a short, 
practical course, usually of three years, which prepares the 
most promising of the young workers for the universities. 
From the 68 3 000 students in these full-time workers' day 
schools and night schools, more than a third of the students 


are drawn who enter the universities. Where the manual 
worker was formerly practically excluded, now the whole 
process of education, as far as possible, is proletarianizedL 
This tends to dilute and lower the intellectual cultural stand- 
ards of the universities, but also educates and provides 
leaders for the whole working mass. The Party plans that 
65 per cent of the engineering students shall be drawn from 
the workshops and the working class. 1 

Education, like most things in Russia, is hampered by 
lack of funds. It receives about 10.6 per cent of the entire 
government budget as compared to 18.7 per cent in the 
United States. 2 According to the five-year plan, compulsory 
school attendance is to be required by 1931 and $1,750,- 
000,000 will be necessary to introduce it. Russia is fond of 
the challenge of ideals for the moment impossible* 

The achievements of the Soviet system of education dur- 
ing the last decade are remarkable. There were but 4,400,000 
in attendance in all schools in 1923. By 1930 the number 
of institutions and their total enrollment was as follows : 3 

1 Bukharin writes : "The true basis and meaning of the dictatorship of 
the proletariat must be a proletarian monopoly o education. This may 
appear shocking, but the monopoly of education always was and always 
is the most important privilege of every ruling class. There is nothing 
else on which a ruling class can base its power. The monopoly of educa- 
tion must become the privilege of the proletariat if the proletariat is to 
win," A B C of Communism, p. 241. 

2 Figures for 1926-7 in Russia and 1925 in U. S. A. Soviet Russia, p. 
295. In 1928-29, $639,500,000 were spent on education in the U. S. S. &, 
compared to $2,026,308,190 in the U. S. A. Soviet Year Book, 1930, p. 
463 and World Almanac, 1930, p. 449. 

8 Figures furnished by Statistical Department of the Gosplan, August* 


Class <of Education Institutions Pupils 

Elementary 129,660 12,320,928 

Secondary 1,883 1,088,813 

Professional 835 966,581 

Rabfacs 239 68,185 

Colleges 188 204,513 

Schools for the Illiterate 168,800 6,112,078 

Adult Education 2,152 210,532 

Party Schools 112 17,061 

Workers' Universities 88 32,058 

Political and Party Education 44,811 1,015,050 

Libraries 25,506 

Cottage Reading Rooms 20,068 

Clubs 4,752 

People's and Peasants' Homes 6,819 

Red Corners 48,661 

Theatres 1,434 

Cinemas 7,963 

In Czarist Russia in 1913, 40 per cent of the people were 
literate. Today, 68.9 per cent of those from sixteen to 
thirty- four years of age are literate, and 27.5 per cent of 
those over fifty can read and write. Their strenuous pro- 
gram aims at .the goal of the elimination of illiteracy by 
1934, while in Russia proper a law has been passed requir- 
ing compulsory education for children from eight to eleven 
years of age. 

Such truly titanic achievements must not blind us how- 
ever to the defects in this system of education from an 
American point of view. There are now twenty million 
illiterates in Russia proper, while plant, equipment and 
teachers are still lacking for a third of the children. Uni- 
versities are still unable to accommodate half the applicants 
for admission. Teachers are poorly paid, receiving an 
average salary of $26.87 a month in the elementary schools. 


Education is practical, but scholastic standards have been 
lowered. The penalizing of not only the intelligentsia and 
the disfranchised, but their innocent children, has been con- 
demned by the bolder and more tolerant leaders like Maxim 
Gorky and Krupskaia. 1 The worst feature of the system is 
the deliberately hostile propaganda maintained in schools and 
press, representing, or frequently misrepresenting, the worst 
features in the life of foreign peoples. 2 Insofar as there is 
the persistent cultivation of fear, bitterness and hatred, often 
by plain falsehood, it cannot commend itself to free and 
tolerant peoples. It must, of course, be admitted that this 
has been paralleled by a campaign of misrepresentation and 
falsehood in the press of other lands. It is to be hoped, 
however, that this unworthy feature of both systems may 
be eliminated, especially in a country that has already made 
such a brilliant and commendable educational advance as the 
Soviet Union. 

1 In 1928 out of 20,865 students admitted to universities in Russia proper 
41.6 per cent were children of workers, 26.5 per cent of peasants, 11.3 
per cent of the intelligentsia, 19.1 per cent of employees, 1.5 per cent of 
others. Chamberlin, Soviet Russia, p. 283. 

2 Bukharin writes : "Communist propaganda has become a necessity for 
the whole society now undergoing regeneration ... It is therefore nec- 
essary that not merely the proletarian school but in addition the whole 
mechanism of the proletarian State should contribute to the work of com- 
munist propaganda. This propaganda must be carried on in the army; it 
must be carried on in and by all the instruments of the Soviet Power." 
A B C of Communism, p. 254. 



Moral standards of the new Russia are neither ascetic nor 
licentious. The mores or customs of the group are not con- 
ceived as absolute standards of divine authority, nor on the 
other hand is conduct viewed as a mere matter of individual 
concern or of self -gratification. Communists start with no 
eternal moral truths but with the authority of a social con- 
trol which must rationally work out its norm of conduct, 
leaving the utmost freedom to the individual consistent with 
social welfare. Not the state as it exists today, but the- 
classless society of the future is the norm. All that aids 
this revolutionary ideal is right, all that hinders it is wrong. 
Thus Lenin defined communist morality as "everything that 
will unite the workers against every form of exploitation, 
and serve to raise human society to a higher level." x 

There is a very real danger in the new Russia that the 

1 Lenin says: "Certainly thirst must be satisfied, but does a normal 
person, under normal conditions, He in the street and drink from mud 
puddles? Or even from a glass that dozens of other people have been 
drinking from? But still more important is the social aspect of it. 
Drinking water is an individual matter. But two participate in love and 
from it arises a third new life. Here the interests of society come in 
. . The revolution demands concentration; the straining of all energies 
by the masses and the individual. The proletarian is an advancing class. 
He doesn't need drunkenness to deaden or arouse him, either through 
sexual intemperance or alcohol. He needs clarity." Woman in Social 
Russia, p. 135, 



individual may be absorbed in the mass, in "the collective 
man/' and thus may not be able to make his full contribution 
to society. Experience will probably teach them that society 
can only be built with the help of more fully developed 

Leading the way in the forming of moral standards are 
the youth organizations with their select, trained and 
strongly self-disciplined young people. For a short time 
after the Revolution there was a period of license when all 
restraint was counted "bourgeois/' but today all promiscuity 
or sensuous indulgence or dissipation is counted "counter- 
revolutionary/ 3 The sex life of youth was lax five years 
ago. Today such laxity is discouraged or condemned, 
although the sex life of Russians is probably more free from 
constraint and interference than in any other country, and 
irregularity, whether among married or unmarried persons 
is less penalized. There are no "illegitimate" children, no 
"fallen" women, no sinful nor improper persons to be 
punished by moral condemnation or social isolation. 

There is, however, a Communist Temperance Society and 
a vigorous campaign is carried on against drink and sexual 
excess. There is no smoking for Young Pioneers. 1 Among 
mature youth abstinence is to be practiced as far as possible, 
and where it is not, one permanent relationship is encour- 
aged, whether registered or unregistered, rather than pro- 
miscuity. By absorption in hard work, by social service, 
preoccupation in vital interests, hardy athletics, mixed play 

1 One o the Pioneer rules reads : "The Pioneer watches out for his 
health and cleanliness, and neither smokes, nor drinks, nor swears/* 


and sensible fellowship between youth of both sexes, self- 
imposed moral standards are maintained with considerable 
success. Delinquencies are dealt with not as individual sin 
but as social betrayal. 

Drink is a problem in Russia as in America. Vodka in 
Czarist days yielded about a quarter of the state revenue. 
Wartime prohibition was maintained through the early revo- 
lution, but it could not be continued in the face of wide- 
spread illicit peasant manufacture. Vodka was legalized in 
1925, in full forty per cent strength, but the state manufac- 
ture and sale is only half the pre-war amount. The powerful 
propaganda posters, motion pictures and literature state that 
iifRussia"in"i927 the drink bill was 1,200,000,000 roubles, 
or $600,000,000, showing that this amount would have built 
1,200,000 much needed homes, or provided 720,000 tractors 
in the elimination of backward agriculture. It is strange 
that democratic America is trying to solve its drink problem 
by force, while the autocratic dictatorship of Russia turns 
in this case to what they believe to be the more effective 
means of education and moral suasion. Neither however 
has as yet solved its problem. 

There is an ascetic vein in Soviet Russia. Moscow looks 
like a bleak puritan city in comparison with the brilliantly 
lighted gaiety and night life of New York or Chicago. 
There is practically no public round dancing. The one 
poorly supported gambling house in Moscow has recently 
closed its doors. The two night clubs in the city, poorly 
attended, are largely a concession to foreigners and void of 
any sex attraction in entertainment such as would be found 


In New York, Paris or Berlin. There are no styles, no 
fashions to be maintained. All life has been levelled down 
to a drab and relatively equal standard of simplicity. A 
workman's clothes are in style in every place or at any enter- 
tainment. All seem poor together, but none appear destitute. 
Soviet Russia is serious. They seem happy in their recrea- 
tion parks, especially in their games and folk dancing, but 
never frivolous, insolent or disorderly. "Cromwell and Mil- 
ton would probably feel more at home in Moscow with its 
titter absence of gay night life, its contempt for frivolity, its 
intensive concentration on purposes far removed from indi- 
vidual enjoyment, in which respects it is strikingly different 
from the spirit which prevails in every other European 
capital/' 1 

This puritan spirit comes as a surprise to the average 
American who visits Russia. On a recent tour conducted 
by the writer one member of the party gaily asked a beauti- 
ful young lady guide and interpreter, "Would you marry 
me?" "Certainly not," she replied frigidly. "Why, don't 
you ever joke about anything?" "Not about serious things," 
she said. "Then you regard marriage as a serious thing?" 
"Most certainly we do," she answered. When this same 
man was travelling from Moscow to Leningrad the porter 
of the sleeping car happened to enter his stateroom in the 
morning and found the American kissing his wife. The 
porter indignantly fined him twenty-five roubles, or $12.50. 

1 W. H. Chamberlin, Soviet Russia, p. 80. This book and Maurice 
Hindus' Humanity Uprooted probably give the truest pictures of life in 
Russia today in the English language. 


It was no use for our friend to insist that the lady was his 
wife. It did not matter whose wife she was. The train 
inspector reinforced the porter's demand. The fine was paid 
under protest. Later the authorities called and returned the 
money with courteous apologies because the culprit was a 
foreigner; but no Russian would have been repaid. This 
chastened American formed a very different idea of prevail- 
ing moral standards from those opinions that he brought 
with him to Russia. Women when travelling in trains are 
especially protected. 

Marriage and the Home. 

The Revolution has affected marriage and the home as it 
has every other aspect of Russian life. In the chaos that 
followed the war and revolution there was a brief period of 
license and unrestraint manifest even more in Russia than 
in any other country. However, things never went to the 
lengths of the exaggerations and misrepresentations of for- 
eign propaganda which persistently circulated such gratuitous 
lies as the nationalization of women. 1 Today a very definite 
code of marriage laws and a seriously self -disciplined youth 
movement frown upon all licentiousness and promiscuity. 

In this as in every other regard the Soviet Union can 

1 Investigation shows that this was never done or even contemplated by 
the Communists at any time or place in Russia. In one centre, Saratov, 
just before an election, in 1918, there appeared an announcement pur- 
porting to come from their enemies and opponents, the Anarchists, pro- 
posing such a scheme locally. It was instantly repudiated even by the 
Anarchists as a forgery and a libel, and was never contemplated by 
the Communists whose whole conception of womanhood would have 
made it unthinkable. 


only be understood in the light of its own background, rather 
than by comparison with western lands. Russia, whether 
old or new, was always free from the inhibitions, restraints 
and artificial repressions of other countries. Neither roman- 
tic feudalism nor stern puritanism had ever produced the 
aloofness and mystery connected with women, the artificial 
separation of the sexes, the morbid curiosity or dread of sex 
found in some other countries. Russian women were and 
probably are now the most sensible in the world. They are 
free, frank, serious, unfrivolous. They are neither afraid 
of sex nor preoccupied with it. 

Sex is considered a wholesome thing but not an all-absorb- 
ing object in life. Russians are as a rule a vital, simple, 
unrepressed and uninhibited people. They are often amoral 
rather than immoral. There is an absence of sex sugges- 
tiveness in Russian life, literature and cinema. Sex intrigue 
is never the open or hidden lure in any motion picture. Not 
only would it be indignantly denounced but the people do not 
demand it. Sex is not taboo but is brought out rationally 
and critically into the open light of day. The result is prob- 
ably a more natural and equal relation between the sexes in 
Russia than in any other country of the world. 

Russia's old Domostroy book lays down some of the most 
savage customs under which women have ever been subjected 
to men. Man had complete authority over woman and was 
advised to use the rod freely to bring her under submission. 
The new code of laws, and much more the new spirit and 
conception of perfect equality for women, has completely 
swept away all the old man-made laws and customs of man's 


dominance, save where old habits still persist among the 
unsocialized portion of the peasantry. 

The gist of the new moral code and practice is personal 
freedom based on social welfare. Complete liberty is 
granted both to men and women, but their action is always 
conditioned by social consequences. The law is relentless in 
enforcing responsibility for offspring. Therefore society 
discountenances intemperate self -gratification and demands 
judicious self-control. The weight of revolutionary public 
opinion is for social welfare, not individual license. 

Marriage in Russia is regarded as a vital, personal rela- 
tion between man and wife. Love makes marriage real. 
They conceive that the state cannot make or break marriage. 
It can only recognize or register the fact of it. t It can pro- 
tect children or guard society against the prostitution or 
perversion of it to selfish and antisocial ends. ; But (like any 
other institution it is made for man, not man for it. Rus- 
sians believe marriage should never become a prison house 
from which there is no escape when love is dead, nor a penal 
colony for mismated couples who cannot live happily 

In sweeping away the old Czarist man-made laws which 
so often victimized women, and at times men, the revo- 
lutionaries doubtless often went too far and lost some ele- 
ments of value. The first tentative marriage laws were 
codified in July, 1918. In the nine years that followed it 
was found that at many points the code needed revision. 
Before the law was revised it was characteristically sub- 
mitted to nation-wide mass discussion. Women's organiza- 


tions, as especially concerned, took the lead. Newspapers, 
magazines, men's clubs and youth organizations discussed 
every phase of the law for months. They were uncontrolled 
by the dead hand of the past, by propriety, precedent or tech- 
nical legality. The one question was, what was rationally 
and experimentally best for all concerned, especially for chil- 
dren, for women, for men, for the home, for the nation? 
Stimulated by a flood of printed matter, over six thousand 
public meetings were reported in the villages alone, with 
countless debates, discussions and lectures. The whole na- 
tional life at this point was in the crucible to be poured into 
fresh molds. Finally on January 1, 1927, the new revised 
marriage law was adopted. It will be amended further in 
the future as experience may dictate. 

'* According to the present law, although a de facto mar- 
riage entails the same rights and duties as a registered 
marriage, civil marriage is recognized as legal, by registra- 
tion at the registry office. A church marriage may follow 
if desired but is without legal significance. !, The conditions 
required for the registry of the marriage are mutual consent, 
the attainment of the matrimonial age of eighteen for both 
parties, with a signed statement that the marriage is entered 
into voluntarily, that there are no legal bars to the marriage, 
and that the parties are mutually informed as to the state of 
each other's health, , Persons found guilty of making false 
statements are liable to prosecution by law. I The parties may 
retain their previous surnames or they may adopt the name 
of either the husband, as is usually done, or the wife. Prop- 
erty remains the separate possession of each. Although the 


sexes are recognized everywhere as equal the chief purpose 
of the law is to protect the child and the woman, 

A marriage may be dissolved during the lifetime of the 
parties, either by mutual consent or at the desire of either 
of them. No grounds for divorce are required. If it is by 
mutual consent a document is registered stating the agree- 
ment with regard to the property involved or the children if 
there are any. If there is a disagreement on these points the 
matter is referred to a court of law. Marriage for sex 
gratification with immediate divorce is punishable by law. 
The marriage laws of Russia resemble somewhat the modern 
code of Norway, but no period of waiting before the grant- 
Ing of the divorce is required in Russia as in Scandinavian 

It might be supposed that laws of such freedom might 
produce an orgy of sex gratification and divorce. Such has 
not been the case. Divorce is slightly more prevalent in 
Russia than in America. 1 They do not however bemoan 
this fact nor try to enforce or perpetuate marriages devoid 
of love or happiness. , Promiscuity is condemned and 
monogamy is the ideal. The Soviet Government has pre- 
served the monogamous marriage as the fundamental social 
unit, believing that mothers are better fitted than the state 
or its institutions for the care of babies. As Lunacharsky 

1 During the first half of 1927 there were 526,692 marriages and 126,- 
280 divorces in European Russia. This would imply one divorce to every 
four marriages. In America the proportion is one to six. In the most 
advanced city of Moscow there were 12>825 marriages and 9,973 divorces 
during the same period, while in a few cities in the U. S. A. at certain 
periods there have been more divorces registered than marriages. 


says: "The main kernel of society, which must be in the 
center of our attention, is the family." Nevertheless, while 
the home is the social unit, of utmost value, it is not con- 
ceived as the sacred, absolute entity that it is in the West. It 
has large relative value ; but it is only the state or society as 
a whole that has absolute value. It must be remembered 
that, with rare exceptions, home life at its highest and best 
was little known in Czarist days. Most families were either 
too poor, or too rich, or too untrained for the fully shared, 
cultured, affectionate, common life of the home. The finest 
home life has hardly been lost for it was scarcely found in 
Russia save in a small middle class. 

The life of the children is lived more in the nursery, the 
school and the youth organizations, and somewhat less in the 
home than in other countries; and that of both men and 
women more in the factory, on the farm, in the trade union, 
the Party, the social clubs and the parks, and somewhat less 
in the bare, unattractive or overcrowded living quarters pro- 
vided by the still inadequate housing accommodations of the 
cities. Russia never nationalized its women or its children 
but its home life must be the creation or evolution of the 
unknown future. 

Prostitution is regarded as a characteristic of capitalistic 
countries and the commercializing of vice is viewed with 
moral indignation. The writer has gone through sections 
of Moscow and Leningrad which were the licensed quarters 
in Czarist days, but which today are probably more free 
from this vice than any of the cities of Europe. The shelter- 
less waifs and homeless children left in large numbers by 


the famine, when three millions perished, have also now been 
mostly accommodated in children's homes and farm colonies. 

Both abortion and birth control are legal, but the former 
is regarded as a necessary evil for needy women in poverty 
or ill health, and Russia is not yet sure enough of herself in 
the event of possible military invasion drastically to limit 
her future by unlimited birth control. But information may 
be freely obtained by anyone seeking it and knowledge of 
contraceptive methods will probably spread rapidly. 

Maurice Hindus writes : "The Russians are an unre- 
pressed and an uninhibited people. They are not over- 
burdened with sex consciousness. Sex is to them a vital 
but not an all-absorbing object in life. They do not play 
with sex. This sex-unconsciousness the revolutionaries 
are seeking to perpetuate. They are death on commercial 
exploitation of sex. They have closed the old houses of 
prostitution. The injection of sex lure in any form into com- 
mercial life they have likewise banned. There is nowhere 
a hint of sex in the displays in shop windows or in the 
amusement places. There is scarcely a trace of sex sugges- 
tiveness in Russian motion pictures. If a Russian producer 
were to make sex intrigue the central point of interest in a 
picture he would be mercilessly howled down. The Russian 
public would not be stirred. The Russian newspapers and 
magazines are singularly free from sex scandals or sex tales. 
. . . Yet despite the emotional earnestness of the Russian 
woman, the sex unconsciousness of the Russian people, the 
measures of self-discipline that are a part of the new educa- 
tion of Russian humanity, one cannot help wondering if the 


Russians are in danger of sinking into a morass of animality. 
... Of course if in the end it should prove that under the 
Russian condition of liberty, libertinism will diminish and 
men will become less given to promiscuity and women will 
remain as disinclined toward promiscuity, or more so than 
tradition holds them to be, we shall have a new form of 
monogamy in the love-life of human beings, the highest yet 
attained, if only because it will flow out of inner desire and 
be free from outward compulsion." * 

The Youth Movement. 

The Youth Movement of Russia is a new and bold experi- 
ment. An organized youth movement began some thirty 
years ago in Germany. But Russia has today unquestion- 
ably the most remarkable youth movement of the world. 
The Komsomal or Union of Communist Youth held its first 
conference in 1918 when there were only 22,000 members. 
Today there are 2,466,000 members. If we add the junior 
Pioneers and Octobrists with their 3,301,458, we have a 
total of nearly six million in this virile and rapidly growing 
movement. 2 Its quality is more remarkable than its quan- 
tity. These youth organizations became an educative organ 
for training a whole new generation of Russia in the prin- 
ciples of its new social order. Instead of inculcating an 
exclusive patriotism for "my country right or wrong," now 
for "the first time in history" they seek to train a new youth 

1 Maurice Hindus, Humanity Uprooted, pp. 96-100. 

3 Statistics from Gosplan Statistical Department, September 1930. 


and to re-train a whole adult generation for the workers of 
the world and a new revolutionary society. 

There is an overlapping in the ages of the various divi- 
sions of the youth organizations. The Young Octobrists 
include children from 8 to 11, the Pioneers 10 to 16, the 
Komsomals 14 to 23, while at 18 the fortunate one-quarter 
to a third of the members are found worthy to enter the 
coveted Party. Like the Party, each of these organizations 
has its strict periodic "cleansing" to prune away the fruitless 
branches. No movement asks so much of its youth, chal- 
lenges them with such a call to sacrifice or meets such a 
response of enthusiastic service. 

The Young Octobrists are organized in brigades of 
twenty-five, in five links of five each, with one Pioneer in 
each. The Pioneers are grouped in detachments of sixty, 
divided into six links of ten each, who are helped in their 
training by the older Komsomals. The whole system is 
organized for intensive training in the new citizenship. 

The young Pioneer has his five laws and five customs. 
The Pioneer "does not smoke nor drink nor swear." There 
are no paternal prohibitions from elders. These things 
simply "are not done." He is trained to take his daily exer- 
cise, he aims at knowledge, he develops his social and polit- 
ical activities in the school. Above all "the Pioneers are 
faithful to the workers' cause and to the commandments of 
Lenin." 1 There are weekly excursions under a Komsomal 

1 The five logs at his camp fire always symbolize the five continents of 
one common humanity. His badge reads "For the struggle in the cause 
of the workers, be ready." For an excellent account of Russia's train- 


leader to museums, farms and factories. A member of the 
youth movement is given responsibilities but almost no 
privileges. He is taught the importance of family ties and 
of building up the new family in cleanliness, sanitation, fresh 
air and literacy, and to place the picture of Lenin and the 
"red corner" in every home. The old wife-beating or child- 
beating is no longer to be allowed and the Pioneer is to com- 
bat "the prejudice of religion." All his games are to develop 
collective and cooperative action and aims. From the first 
he is taught that the great ambition in life is not to seek suc- 
cess for one's self, but liberation and development of abun- 
dant life for all the workers of the world, without regard to 
race. The writer witnessed a meeting of some fifty thousand 
Pioneers in a great stadium in Moscow gathered from all 
over the world. There was a negro boy from Harlem, and 
boys from the slums of New York and Philadelphia. When 
over the loud speaker, the orator of the moment, warning of 
a capitalist invasion of Russia or a drive upon the workers 
in other lands would ask, "Pioneers, are you ready?" the 
shout of the fifty thousand in unison, like a college cheer, 
was always, "We are ready." 

These Pioneers, ten to sixteen years of age, own their own 
press and publish their own literature. The older Korn- 
somals publish sixty newspapers and twenty magazines. 
Their paper Young Communist Truth is probably the best 
edited and most influential youth paper in the world, with a 
circulation of several hundred thousand over the whole U. S. 

ing in citizenship see Civic Training in Soviet Russia,, by Prof. Samuel 
Harper of the University of Chicago. 


S. R. A stern self -discipline under their own codes charac- 
terizes the whole movement. As the writer compares this 
new youth of Russia with that before the war it seems like 
another country. There is a new psychology produced by 
this new environment and new system. There is a new 
aggressive initiative in place of the former dreamy Russian 
and the casual Slav. There is a new enthusiasm for ath- 
letics, for organization, for constant parades and demon- 
strations, for earnest speech making. There is a new dignity 
of labor, an enthusiasm for sacrifice, a militant drive and 
mobilization on all "fronts" for the workers' cause, a new 
discipline and self-government, a new precocity and ma- 
turity, a new dynamic socialization of youth. The move- 
ment at its best is not a negative "revolt" against elders but 
a positive and creative crusade for a great human objective. 
While the Japanese government and police seek to suppress 
"dangerous thoughts" of their radical students, these Rus- 
sian youth have a drive of their own against all "dangerous 
thinking" of reformist, capitalist or compromising ten- 

The mature and responsible social service undertaken by 
these militant youth is difficult for other countries to under- 
stand. During the recent harvests when thousands of the 
miners returned to their rural fields and bolted to their 
homes, instantly on call many thousands of Komsomals were 
ready to step into their places in the mines that there might 
be no halt in the five year program's strategic output of coal. 
When some official had blundered and the peasants' potato 
crop was called in all at once to Moscow, and they were in 


danger of losing it within two weeks of the freezing of the 
Russian winter, instantly the Komsomals leaped into the 
breach and in a fortnight had the whole crop safely stored. 
When again there was an epidemic of automobile and other 
accidents, the Komsomals manned the street corners in a 
"safety first" campaign while new traffic habits were incul- 
cated and the danger averted. Now comes the new law for 
"compulsory education" in Russia proper when the Govern- 
ment has not the buildings, equipment nor other provisions 
to make the law effective. Humanly it is impossible, but 
these organized youths are ready to tackle just such impos- 
sibilities and now a drive is on, headed by these practical 
youngsters, to make the law not a dead letter but a living 
reality. Under the Anti-alcoholic Society the youths march 
on a factory and demand of their parents that they sign a 
pledge to stop drinking. They meet the workers at the 
closing time of the factory with their posters and banners 
and temperance slogans and carry their crusade to the adult 
population. In a score of social, political and moral move- 
ments they are a growing force in the nation's life. 

When one contrasts the youth of certain other lands, 
with their jazz, their "petting parties," their automobiles, 
their "get rich quick" ambitions, their measurement of 
values in terms of personal possession and competitive indi- 
vidual acquisition, one wonders, not whether there is any- 
thing to learn in this great laboratory of life, but whether 
we shall be willing to learn it and learn it in time. In the 
meantime the foreign press chiefly pictures the demoraliza- 
tion of youth in a supposed sexual orgy, and two social 


orders, each having so much to learn, are living in two 
worlds apart. 

Here is a close-knit, sternly disciplined, aggressively 
articulate youth movement that is a powerful training ground 
for citizenship in the new order. Space permits but a single 
illustration to show concretely how Russian youth is trained 
in service. We shall take the case of Ellen, a girl of twenty. 
After she had been prepared and disciplined in the move- 
ment, she was assigned to the task of training younger 
Pioneers in the city and summer camps. Instead of repres- 
sive rules imposed from above she sought rather to incor- 
porate principles in a program of action. There were excur- 
sions, parades, discussion groups and a weekly council. 
There was training in citizenship and in character building. 
All must be taught the history of the youth movement, of 
the Party and of the Revolution in the world movement. 
There were groups for dramatics, art, poetry, original writ- 
Ing and public speaking, and in the laws and customs of the 
Pioneers mentioned above. 

After this work with Pioneers, Ellen was assigned respon- 
sibility for the development of a backward village. She 
found it illiterate, superstitious, sodden. The youth, in re- 
volt against their elders, were drinking, gambling, dissipated 
and ignorant. With the cooperation of the authorities in 
Moscow this village must be changed. She gave every Sun- 
day and two nights a week to voluntary service in this 
village. First of all she had to make sure that the village 
had a good school and a capable teacher. Soon she helped 
them democratically to secure a social center, with a library, 


reading room, radio, recreation room and a place for the 
meeting of groups. Next she organized the youth and en- 
couraged them to lead a drive against drink, gambling, 
swearing and sexual dissipation. She brought out the 
powerful anti-drink film and a weekly moving picture with 
a social message, and some of the best lecturers from the 
city. In place of the icy roads for the young people's sleds 
which were a nuisance and a danger to the older women, she 
persuaded the young people to throw ashes on the roads, and 
then led the whole village to turn out and build a proper 
slide for winter sports. Soon all were sliding, old and young. 
After a year of such service there were marked signs of 
change in the life of the village, especially through its youth 

For her next task Ellen was assigned by her Komsomal 
council to the organization of sixteen neighboring villages, 
sending out the youth workers and training them to do in 
these other villages just what she had done in hers. After 
this she became one of the editors of the paper, Young Com- 
munist Truth. Then she was made manager of the press 
bureau of the district where she was in touch with all the 
editors of these papers, seeking to develop a concerted policy 
on behalf of youth. All of this service, was, of course, 
voluntary, unpaid and democratic, and all was carried on by 
the youth themselves. 

When the writer last saw this girl she was a student in 
the university. She was occupied in service eight hours a 
day outside of her scholastic work. She was working not 
only among the students of Russia but by correspondence 


in five languages with the students o other European coun- 
tries. Undoubtedly this service will interfere with her 
scholastic work. But she is gaining practical education in 
the vast complex of real life. One's mind travels far in 
other countries to recall a girl or boy, a member of a student 
movement or of an endeavor society, thus pouring out life 
in such joyous and effective service, training youth, trans- 
forming villages, writing, speaking, organizing, serving. 
Here is a vast laboratory of life with youth in its molten 
crucible. Is it possible that they have nothing to learn from 
the older nations ? Is it possible that the western world has 
nothing to learn from a new kind of "flaming youth" which 
says : "Always remember that for us the world is just begin- 
ning* '? Is it possible that both sides have nothing better to 
do than to prepare for a possible warfare of destruction or 
to be poisoned by false propaganda on both sides, which rep- 
resents, and often misrepresents to each other, only the 
worst in these two systems ? 



As in almost every other department of life the entire 
legal structure of Czarist Russia has been swept away and 
new conceptions and codes of law have been substituted. 
Civil and criminal law have been codified. 1 The system of 
courts includes the People's Court, the Provincial Courts 
and the Supreme Court, as well as a number of special 
tribunals. In the People's Court all the judges are work- 
ingmen and nine-tenths of them belong- to the Communist 
Party. The judge sits with two assessors and the case is 
decided by a majority vote. The court is more informal 
than in other countries, with little concern for legal techni- 
calities and verbal hairsplitting 1 , but with a primary concern 
for equity and essential justice. 

Legal codes and procedure are affected by the new con- 
ception of class justice. No profession is made of settling 
disputes upon a basis of absolute or of abstract justice. If 
the offender is a poor worker he is given a light sentence; 
if he is an intelligent or privileged citizen who should have 
known better, or who has exploited his weaker brother, he is 
given a heavier punishment; but if he is a member of the 
Communist Party he is given the maximum penalty of the 

Civil, Criminal, Land and Labor Codes have been followed by 
special Commercial, Family and other codifications. 



law. Everything in Russia is conditioned by the funda- 
mental dictatorship of the proletariat, by the conception of 
the state as the instrument of class domination; where lib- 
erty will be a reality only when economic class conflict has 
been abolished. In the meantime they endeavor to provide 
justice for the nine-tenths of the population that now make 
up the laboring and peasant classes. 1 

Both society and law are socialized in Russia. Penalty is 
measured not so much by personal guilt as by the social 
consequences of an act. Far worse than individual murder 
which takes the life of a single person, for which the ordi- 
nary penalty is from eight to ten years in prison, is a crime 
against society, or the state, which may wrong a multitude. 
Crimes punishable by death include counter-revolution/ mal- 
feasance in public office, and exploiting the superstitions qf 
the masses for the overthrow of the state, etc. 

Another distinguishing feature of the Soviet legal system 
is based on its different conception of property. With land 

1 Lenin in his State and Revolution writes: "The dictatorship of the 
proletariat- that is, the organization of the advance guard of the op- 
pressed as a ruling class for the purpose of crushing the oppressors 
cannot produce merely an expansion of democracy. Together with an 
immense expansion of democracy for the first time becoming democracy 
for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the rich 
the dictatorship of the proletariat will produce a series of restrictions of 
liberty in the case of the oppressors, exploiters and capitalists." Kry- 
ienko in his Court Structure of the R. S. F. S. R. writes : "For us, for 
the workers* and peasants' state, no form of court is acceptable except 
one which always and under all conditions will guarantee the defence of 
the interests of the workers. All state authority is nothing but a weapon 
of social force and constraint, with the aid of which a given governing 
class in a given society realizes its political sovereignty and guards its 
economic sovereignty." 


and practically all means of production in the hands of the 
state the sphere of ownership has been greatly curtailed; 
much greater security has been given to life, and opportunity 
for the exploitation of others has been reduced. A man 
may have his home, his garden, his clothes and effects for 
his own use. He may have personal possessions for use but 
not functional property for power or exploitation of others 
by profit, interest or rent. If, so long as he usefully func- 
tions in- society, he is provided for from birth to death, 
through unemployment, illness, accident and every contin- 
gency, what reason or excuse is there for the hoarding of 
fear or selfish acquisitiveness? The wealth that one may 
privately possess or leave to others is restricted by steeply 
graded taxes. Any amount of property may be willed, but 
in excess of $5,000 inheritance taxes reach 90 per cent. 

A further characteristic of the whole penal system, inso- 
far as it applies to the nine-tenths of the population who are 
workers, is that it is not vindictive or expiatory but redemp- 
tive. One must always make the regrettable exception of 
their treatment of their class enemies which is often cruelly 
unjust. But apart from them and the secret police, their 
penal, system is probably the most modern, the most humane, 
the most redemptive in the world. The man whom a capi- 
talistic society brands as a criminal they count a little brother 
who has gone wrong, perhaps through no fault of his own, 
because of poverty, ignorance, neglect or social injustice. 
He is never called a criminal nor put in a "prison." He 
wears no prison garb, no brand of Cain. He is paid the 


wages of a worker; he Is allowed to talk, to smoke, to do 
any reasonable thing during the time of his sentence, which 
is often indeterminate. The effort is to redeem him from 
himself and to make him a useful citizen in society. 

In a Rehabilitation Colony of the G. P. U. the boys 
are placed under their own self-government where it is the 
aim to teach them a trade and the joy of work. There are 
no armed guards or keepers. The elders are their friends 
and advisers, but the boys are their own rulers. The direc- 
tor is the only representative of the police in the institution, 
and he is a father and a friend rather than an official. There 
are no walls, no fences, no guards. The inmates are allowed 
to seek recruits in the regular prisons and take out promising 
youth who wish to embrace the opportunity for self dis- 
cipline by entering a Rehabilitation Colony. Thieves and 
pickpockets are taught a trade and the cause of their crime 
thereby removed. They are provided with creative work, 
entertainment and athletic equipment in a character-building 
environment. The Colony near Moscow, which anyone may 
inspect, was begun a few years ago by a physician and a 
group of boys whom he sought to reclaim. There are now 
1132 boys and men, and some women in the Colony, Those 
on good behavior may go home on vacation in the summer. 
They may marry while in the Colony; they may do almost 
anything that will serve to make them useful citizens. The 
Colony is forming the nucleus of a surrounding settlement 
or city which is being built up of men who were once crim- 
inals, but who may remain here for life if they wish to do 


so, as many of them do. They choose their permanent life 
work in the surrounding farms and factories which are built 
to accommodate them. 

Members of this Rehabilitation Colony are carefully 
chosen from other penal institutions. Upon entering the 
grounds their past is forgotten. No questions are asked 
since it is assumed that each member will be a good citizen. 
Faith is a factor in reclamation. For a short time the new- 
comer is watched and guided. As he becomes adjusted, this 
supervision is relaxed, and ended as soon as possible. Full 
freedom to leave the Colony is granted, but few wish to go. 
The whole plan is humane, scientific and experimental in, 
method. Each boy or girl is given some congenial work 
to do. Boys are not asked to make automobile license tags 
or ladies' shoes, but skates, athletic goods or articles in 
which they are interested. Girls are interested in clothing 
and often work the looms. They enjoy the same working 
hours, wages and protection as the trade unions offer. 
They love the colony like the boy who presented John Dewey 
with a painting on the back of which he had written that it 
was given in memory of "the school that opened my eyes." 
How many of the inmates of Sing Sing, of Auburn, of the 
long notorious San Quentin would choose to remain near 
the scene and under the influence of the beloved colony that 
opened their eyes? How strange that under this dictator- 
ship, yes, under the very "terror" of the G, P. U., there 
should exist such a redemptive penal system, while in the free 
democracy of the land of Thomas Mott Osborne the prison 


system should so often be obsolete, Inhuman, penal and 
vindictive. 1 

It gives an American a rude shock to come from a great 
redemptive Reclamation Colony in Russia to see the Amer- 
ican motion picture, "The Big House/' which pictures the 
penal system existing in the United States to crowded audi- 
ences in Europe. If American prisons are half as bad as 
this film portrays them they are a disgrace to any civilized 
country in the twentieth century. Instead of being redemp- 
tive the system appears to be vindictive, inhuman, a factory 
of crime, a maker of criminals. So long as the American 
prison system is in such crying need of reform her citizens 
cannot justly hold other countries in contempt or believe 
that there are no lessons to be learned from them. 

Just as Disraeli spoke of two nations in other countries, 
the rich and poor, there are also two classes in Russia, the 
once poor nine-tenths, and the once rich or privileged one- 
tenth. The pyramid of privilege in Russia has been turned 
upside down. In the process the apex has been crushed, 
It would sometimes seem that they have almost sought to 
make Russia a heaven for the poor and a hell for the rich. 
In some measure they have succeeded. On the one hand 
there is class justice and many advantages for the workers. 
They have manifold privileges which they never knew tinder 
Czarism. Speaking of them after a study of civil liberties 
In Russia, Roger Baldwin writes: "The Russian people 

*We shall speak in another connection of the treatment of the un- 
fortunate one-tenth, of political and religious prisoners, and of all sus- 
pected of being class enemies. 


enjoy more essential liberties than at any time in their his- 
tory, and more of some sorts than any people in the world" 1 
Concerning economic liberties he points out that the whole 
land has been freed from the domination of privileged 
classes living by the exploitation of labor. The peasants 
now have the land, instead of the landlords, and they govern 
their villages with little or no outside interference. The 
encouragement of cooperatives, machine farming, improved 
agriculture, the protection of the poor against rich exploiters, 
a steadily enriched social life in education, recreation in 
villages that for centuries were static and semi-barbarous, 
have not been unrecognized even if the forcible transition 
from competition to cooperation has been somewhat painful. 
The release of new creative energies among great masses of 
peasants and workers has been as remarkable as it has often 
been unconscious to themselves. Complain as they always 
have and probably always will, multitudes of them would 
fight to the death against any who tried to wrest from them 
their possessions and restore the Czarist system of landlords 
and employers. 

The industrial workers have a larger participation in con- 
trolling their wages, their working conditions and even the 
political state than in almost any other country. A universal 
eight-hour day has been reduced to nearly seven, and a six- 
day working week to four. The worker cannot be arbitrarily 
dismissed without the consent of the trade union. Education 
and medical attention are free to all workers. Even politi- 

1 Liberty Under Ike Soviets, p. 5. 


cally the Constitution guarantees that: "All authority is 
vested in the entire working population of the country/' 

While the Russians number almost two-thirds of the 
population, the nearly sixty millions in the national minori- 
ties are protected in their civil liberties and in their more 
than one hundred languages and autonomous educational 
systems. This is in striking contrast t the crushing of such 
minorities In Czarist Russia or Fascist Italy and is hardly 
equalled elsewhere in the world. All race prejudice or racial 
discrimination of any sort Is fought both by law and by 
propaganda. One acute observer remarks : "Freedom from 
race prejudice is probably greater in Russia than in any 
country of mixed population In the world." 

On the other hand, under a confessed dictatorship, how- 
ever "temporary" it may hope to be, civil liberties are 
abridged as in few countries in the world. There is a 
universal censorship of all means of communication, and the 
complete suppression of any organized opposition. As 
understood In Anglo-Saxon countries there is no liberty for 
opponents of the regime. There is no organized freedom 
of speech or assemblage, nor of the press. No political 
liberty Is permitted. Legality is confined to one Party, and 
within that, opposition, whether from the right or the left, 
against majority decisions or the group in power is danger- 
ous. The numbers now in exile, never permitted to be 
known, of political or religious prisoners, sufficiently attest 
this denial of liberty. 

Under a burning crusade the masses might not only 
tolerate but welcome the "divine right" of a prophet in 


Arabia or a proletariat in Russia. But in a highly cultured 
community it would be intolerable to have a relatively small 
Party, or section of it, controlling all news and editorials. 
There is no privately owned free press in Russia. Every 
newspaper is issued either by some committee of the Com- 
munist Party, by a Soviet, or trade union, or public organ- 
ization whose policies are controlled by orthodox Com- 
munists. The Russian worker, economically relatively free, 
would not exchange his solid rights for the privilege of 
casting his ballot under an abstract system of political liberty 
controlled by a possessing class. But neither would the 
cultural citizen of a free country surrender his right of 
habeas corpus, and willingly be liable to arrest upon sus- 
picion of a political or economic offense, held in confinement, 
secretly tried without counsel or witness, and exiled, un- 
known, under a dreaded political police. Each system is 
looked upon with horror by members of the other. The 
former palaces and resorts of the rich now inhabited by 
happy workers on their vacations may be visited by all, but 
not so the dreaded Solovyetzky Island in the cold White 
Sea of the north, inhabited by political and religious pris- 
oners. Russians should be as ashamed of such places as 
should Americans of their tmreformed prison system, the 
Indefinite confinement of men like Mooney and Billings, or 
the gang war of misgoverned cities like Chicago. 

The Communist Party was intended to be democratic In 
the form of its organization ; and it may yet become so, but 
the expulsion of its opposition, the only openly critical polit- 
ical force left in Russia, dangerously narrows its democracy 


to what might easily become an insufferable tyranny, were 
it not for its hardy working class and newly released rugged 
peasantry which are its hope and bulwark. 1 

The soviet system promises ultimate liberty and democ- 
racy, but it is deferred to that miraculous millennium of the 
future in which the credulous communist is asked to believe. 
As a compensation for the forfeiture of present liberties it 
requires as much faith as belief in a future heaven in lieu 
of justice here on earth. Both systems must be judged not 
by future promises but by present realities. Capitalism gives 
a measure of present liberty and promises future justice; 
communism seeks to give immediate social justice for the 
poor and promises future liberty. 

Lenin maintained in May, 1917 that the constitution of 
the democratic republic of Russia must insure: "1. The 
sovereignty of the people. ... 2. Universal, equal, and 
direct suffrage for all male and female citizens, twenty years 
old or over. ... 3, The secret ballot at elections. . . 
4. Inviolability of person and dwelling. 5. Unlimited free- 
dom of religion, speech, press, assembly, strikes and unions. 
6. Freedom of movement and occupation, etc/' 2 

Yet he writes in his State -and Revolution: "Only In 
Communist Society, when the resistance of the capitalists 
has finally been broken, when the capitalists have disap- 

1 Bukharin writes : "When the proletariat is in power it cannot permit 
the enemies of its class to become judges . . . The judges are elected by 
the workers alone. The judges are elected solely from among the work- 
ers. For the exploiters the only right that remains is the right of being 
judged/* A B C <of Communism, p. 229. 

8 Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. I, p. 337. 


peared, when there are no longer any classes, only then does 
the State disappear, and can one speak of freedom. Only 
then will be possible., and will be realized, a really full 
democracy, a democracy without any exceptions. And only 
then will democracy itself begin to wither away by virtue 
of the simple fact that, freed from capitalist slavery . . . 
people will gradually become accustomed to the observance 
of the elementary rules of social life, known for centuries, 
repeated for thousands of years in all sermons. They will 
become accustomed to their observance without force, with- 
out constraint, without subjection, without the special 
apparatus of compulsion which is called the State." 

Bukharin writes : "Why, indeed, do we need the dicta- 
torship: We need it for the organised destruction of the 
bourgeois regime ; we need it that we may crush the enemies 
of the proletariat by force. Quite openly we say, by force. 
The dictatorship is the axe in the hands of the proletariat. 
Anyone who is opposed to the dictatorship of the proletariat 
Is one who is afraid of decisive action, is afraid of hurting 
the bourgeoisie, is no revolutionist When we have com- 
pletely vanquished the bourgeoisie, the need for the dicta- 
torship of the proletariat will no longer exist. But as long 
as the life-and-death struggle continues it is absolutely in- 
cumbent upon the working class to crush its enemies utterly. 
An epoch of proletarian dictatorship must inevitably inter- 
vene between a capitalist and a communist society. " 1 

* A B C of Communism, p. 82. 



With the conversion of Vladimir of Kiev in 988 A. D., 
Russia began to adopt the Greek form of worship with the 
Byzantine imperial tradition from Constantinople, the 
second Rome, as Moscow in time became a third Rome. 
Peter the Great in 1729 abolished the patriarchate and 
became, with all succeeding Czars, the head of both church 
and state. The church became not only the chief support 
of the autocratic state but its subservient tool and, with the 
police, the most reactionary weapon of Czarist despotism. 
The confessional was often an agency of espionage and the 
priest the policeman of the Czar. Along with much genuine 
piety of peasants and the poorer clergy, the hierarchy was 
often rich, powerful and corrupt and almost everywhere 
stood for reaction. The life in many monasteries was a 
scandal, and the bogus, miracle-working mummies of the 
"incorruptible" bodies of the saints were a symptom of the 
official degradation of the church. Its crowning shame, 
however, was in the drunken and sensuous Rasputin, the 
"holy devil" who gained such power over the superstitious 
Czar Nicholas and his consort and wielded such malign in- 
fluence over some of the higher officials. Against such a 
caricature of religion, which was all they had ever known, 
the persecuted revolutionary leaders in prison, exile, or 



banishment, determined to destroy both church and state in 
the name of a common humanity which they believed had 
for centuries suffered under both. After the revolution the 
Patriarch declared open war on the new republic and worked 
for the restoration of the Czarist regime. 1 This whole back- 
ground must be remembered if we are to understand the pres- 
ent attitude of the authorities in Russia toward the church. 
This is the religion that they regard as an opiate or poison. 
The type of religion developed in Russia was an esthetic 
mysticism. 2 Its services were the most beautiful, harmo- 
nious and reverent in the world. It was lacking, however, 
in moral fiber and in social vision. It was pietistic, other- 
worldly, individualistic and prevailingly anti-social. It stood 
for charity not social justice, for reaction rather than re- 
form. Opinion is divided as to whether the peasant in old 
Russia was deeply mystical and religious or a "pagan beast." 

1 In the Patriarch's first message to the Church on January 19, 1918, 
he thus censures the excesses of the revolution: "That which you do 
is not only a cruel deed : it is verily a Satanic deed, for which you are 
condemned to hell fire ... We conjure all you faithful children of the 
Orthodox Church not to enter into any kind of association with these 
monsters of the human race," Archbishop Evdokim admits: "It is not 
surprising that the Government is suspicious of the Church, During the 
civil war the heads of the Church worked in open sympathy with the 
enemies of the republic," 

2 "The religious characteristics of the Russian soul are : restless yearn- 
ing and searching for God and divine truth, love of suffering and the 
sufferer, admiration and sympathy for social outcasts, the spirit of for- 
giveness, resignation and non-resistance to wrong, and finally, devotion 
to sacred symbolism and aesthetic mysticism. Thus religion in Russia is, 
first and foremost, worship and meditation. . . . The Russian National 
Church never was a preaching and a teaching church. It was, and is 
today, an institution of worship." Religion Under the Soviets, J. HL 
Hecker, p. 8. 


Probably he was both. As in no other land coachmen, 
peasants and people crossed themselves before every ikon, 
shrine, or church with the prayer, "Lord be merciful." But 
It is also true today that many peasants have chopped down 
the wayside crosses for firewood, smoked up their Bibles for 
cigarette paper, and profess to be atheists today, as once 
they professed orthodoxy. Indeed, it is only a new, exter- 
nally imposed, propagandized orthodoxy which they profess. 
Only when they are free shall we know what is in that 
sphinx-like, darkened peasant heart. 

It is of the utmost importance that we understand the 
situation in Russia as a whole and especially the attitude of 
the Communist Party with regard to religion. Here are two 
great social orders, the capitalistic and the communistic, in 
conflict. The conflict is economic, political, social and 
religious. At no point do the systems come into more stark 
antagonism than upon the subject of religion, and at no 
point is it more difficult for them to understand each other. 
Understanding is difficult even where there is desire for it, 
but when both sides begin with an attitude of open hostility, 
and either credulously believe or eagerly welcome exaggera- 
tion, misrepresentation and false propaganda, it becomes 
almost impossible of achievement. We may remember also 
that intervention has been undertaken and wars have been 
fought for causes and occasions that were less. However 
much we may differ in opinion at this point, let us at least 
strive to understand. 

The soviet leaders who had suffered under this system 
turned bitterly against the only religion they had known. 


As the state church had enjoyed a practical monopoly o 
religious freedom and had encouraged the persecution of all 
other creeds, and pogroms against the Jews, in place of this 
state church the Soviets established an anti-church state. 
From the time of Marx and Lenin they set their faces 
against religion conceived as an ally of superstition, an 
anti-social reactionary force and an other-worldly drug or 
soporific which refused social justice in this world while it 
promised compensation in the next. 

We would do well to remember their suffering at the 
hands of religion in the past But communists should 
also remember the historical past that makes liberal Amer- 
icans particularly sensitive to religious persecution. The 
northern American colonies were founded by the Pilgrim 
Fathers in their endeavor to escape from the political and 
religious tyranny of the old world, just as Lenin and his 
comrades were endeavoring to escape from the worse 
tyranny of Czarism. 

We would agree with communists in their condemnation 
of superstition and magic, in their acceptance of modern 
science, with all its implications and applications, including 
evolution, and In their determination to free the enslaved 
and superstitious masses. We would have great sympathy 
for a reverent agnosticism like that of Darwin's, but we 
would find bigoted, blatant and persecuting theism or athe- 
ism quite intolerable. And that quite apart from our per- 
sonal beliefs. Not only scientists who believe In religion, 
like Millikan or Eddington, but men who do not share their 
beliefs, from Voltaire or Thomas Jefferson to Bernard 


Shaw, all would be equally against a system which denied 
liberty of conscience and practice suffered for and won 
in part since the death of Socrates in 399 B. C. Thus the 
Socialist Messenger of the Russian Social Democratic 
Party, after stating that the majority of their members are 
non-religious, says : "But exactly for this reason we consider 
it our duty to raise our voice in loudest and most decisive 
protest against the persecutions which the church of all 
religions is suffering at present in Soviet Russia." * 

Anglo-Saxons who inherit a tradition of tolerance and 
liberty, wonder why communists should desire to persecute 
religion. If it is a harmless superstition why not let it 
simply die out, by letting in the light of modern science and 
allowing the darkness to take care of itself. It is difficult 
to conceive how they can regard religion with such implaca- 
ble hatred. In an effort to understand their position the writer 
has endeavored to draw up a comparison of where Christian- 
ity and Communism are in general agreement as to their hu- 
manitarian aims and where they are in inevitable contradiction 
and conflict in their beliefs, their methods and their ends. 

In an effort to understand the attitude of the Government 
toward religion the writer obtained an interview with the 
highest Soviet official concerned in the matter. In view of 
the importance of his official statement we shall quote him 
almost in full. He said : 

"You ask what is the present status of the Church and 
the policy of the Government toward religion. In the class 
war the clergy supported the White Guards and the monas- 

1 Socialist Messenger, Berlin, March 15, 1930. 


Comparison of Common Aims 

1. Each seeks a new Social Order based on social justice and cooperation, 
in a classless society or equal brotherhood. 

2. Each believes in a world-wide, universal missionary propaganda, per- 
sonal obedience to the call for world service at any point of human 
need. Eacfy seeks to capture and train youth, to make converts, to 
educate the illiterate. Each professes faith in the common man. 

3. Each has unshaken faith in its mission, message and destiny. Each 
believes itself to be the hope of the world, the savior of humanity. 

4. Each is an absolute system, claiming to be the way, expecting to con- 
quer the world, and in large measure intolerant of all other ways and 
compromises. Each looks with aversion and condemnation upon the 

5. Each believes in social service, personal sacrifice, absolute loyalty of 
the individual to the cause. Each in theory stands for the simple life, 
communal sharing, the condemnation of selfish accumulation and of 
unshared riches, generous giving, loyal support, care for the weak, 
responsibility for the poor, passion for social justice, moral indignation 
against social wrong and profiteering. 

6. Each professes belief in a predestined jule of righteousness on earth 
where no government of force will be necessary. 

7. Each has been persecuted and violently opposed ; each believes in costly 
struggle. The orthodox section of each believes in an apocalyptic, 
cataclysmic, destructive world conflict, or Armageddon, before the new 
order can triumph the one supernatural, the other natural, by the 
organized effort of the workers. 





1. A conception of the universe as 
materialistic mechanism o mat- 
ter and blind force, the universe 
without a God, man without a 
soul, the individual without an 
enduring personality of absolute 
worth. 1 

2. Absolute loyalty to a cause, to 
the Revolution, to social control. 

3. Worldwide internationalism for 
one class, temporarily, their goal 
a classless society. 

4. The motivation of class hate in 
the class war. 

5. An absolute dictatorship, as a 
means to an end. 

6. Destructive revolution; govern- 
ment by coercion. 

7. An immediate, new, creative, 
epoch of social justice by com- 
pulsion. Neglect of the individ- 
ual for the sake of social salva- 


The universe as the expression of 
intelligence and purpose of God as 
Father, Jesus as Elder Brother 
revealing the nature of the uni- 
verse, man as a child of God of 
infinite worth. 

Absolute loyalty to individual con- 
science and to God. 
Worldwide internationalism for all 

The authorized motivation of love 


Liberty of the individual political, 

civil, religious. 

Constructive evolution ; government 

by consent. 

An ultimate reign of righteousness 

or social justice by moral suasion. 

But traditional alliance with the 

status quo, and long compromise 

with social injustice. Neglect of 

the social for the sake of individual 


1 There are two schools of philosophy In Russia, one of which is com- 
mitted to atheism, the other may make room for a possible future 


terles were sometimes turned into fortresses against us. 
The priests often led the people in counter-revolutionary 
activity against the Government. Many of the White Rus- 
sians fled from the country after their defeat and have 
abused and misrepresented us in France, America and 
throughout the world. When the Church was divided the 
poorer clergy became more friendly to us, but the Reformed 
or 'Regenerate 1 branch of the Church is only in the minority. 
In the villages the religion of the churches is mostly magic 
and superstition. Our attitude was liberal in giving legal 
status to religious bodies. But counter-revolutionary forces 
in the churches took advantage of our liberalism. The 
religious influence against us now is no longer monarchistic 
but bourgeois, but it tends to ally itself with the Nepmen, 
kulaks and intelligentsia, so that our enemies may form one 
bloc against us. They employ hired labor and are often 
hostile to our economic program. In our present socializa- 
tion of agriculture we are in the rnidst of a life and death 
struggle. Any hostility to our economic program means to 
us counter-revolution. Any priest or minister who is against 
our program of collective farming becomes thereby our polit- 
ical enemy. Some use religion as a cloak to hide their economic 
opposition. The policy of the Government toward them is de- 
termined by their political and economic attitude and activity. 
"Again, the religious bodies of Russia, especially among 
the sects, have enormous foreign connections. Money is sent 
to them from abroad in subsidies* These foreign organi- 
2ations send in their religious publications and propaganda. 
They even train ministers and religious workers abroad for 


service in Russia. The foreign connections of the Baptists, 
Adventists and Evangelicals are characteristic of others. 

"You ask regarding the recent change in the wording of 
the law and the constitution in regard to religion. 1 There 
has been no change in our principle of liberty or conscience. 
No religion and no faith as such is persecuted but only their 
political intrigues or economic opposition wherever such 
exist. Under our policy the magical and superstitious ele- 
ments of religion are passing away. Our higher officials 
however have to restrain the local resentment and indigna- 
tion of the masses against the churches in some places. 

"You ask if there are any elements in religion that are 
necessarily antagonistic to the present policy of the Soviet 
Government. My answer is, Yes, religion is inevitably and 
absolutely hostile to the Soviet Government. These two 
systems are in necessary conflict and antagonism. We stand 
absolutely against all exploitation, human slavery and social 
injustice. Religion traditionally, and in Russia habitually, 
has sanctioned oppression. You stand for class peace, we 
for class war. Your Christian principles blunt the edge of 
this class war. I repeat that no person is persecuted for his 
religious beliefs but only for his political, social or economic 
hostility to our program. 

"We are particularly concerned about religion in our 
schools and colleges for training youth. Regarding religion 
as we do as gross superstition we are anxious to insure the 

1 Religious and anti-religious propaganda and preaching were formerly 
equally allowed but now only religious worship is permitted while anti- 
religious propaganda is encouraged. 


triumph of pure science in otir educational system and to re- 
move from the mind of youth all vestiges of superstition and 
of the anti-social attitude that always accompanies religion. 

"We understand that in many of your own universities, 
as in Tennessee, they forbid the study of Darwin and evolu- 
tion. You still have many a priori superstitious notions 
left in your universities where religion seems still to linger, 
but they are not in ours. Every scientist must be an atheist. 
You say that in America you have liberty to teach theism or 
atheism, religion or anti-religion, and you ask why we do not 
let the people choose for themselves and believe what they 
will. We say, People do not believe what they will but what 
they are told. And we propose to tell them!" 

It is not generally recognized by the majority of either 
side how fundamental, widespread and how practically inevi- 
table this conflict between the two systems is under present 
conditions. For instance, the majority of communists will 
assure one that there is no religious persecution whatever 
in Russia today. Most of them would honestly and indig- 
nantly deny its existence. If so they simply do not know 
the facts. In Russia, more than in any other land, people 
are living today in two widely separated worlds. 

It is one of the strange anomalies of Russian life that 
under a class dictatorship opposed by hostile nations there 
exists a fear psychosis and a consequent suspicion of or 
contempt for other classes, so that life is lived by individuals 
or communities largely in separate, water-tight compart- 
ments. No Christian knows what goes on in the secret 
councils of the Political Bureau or the Communist Party. 


And few communists know what persecution the Christian 
community is suffering. 

Let us examine the communist statement that no religious 
persecution exists in Russia today. It has been the privilege 
of the writer to work among students throughout America, 
Asia and in many countries in Europe during the past thirty- 
five years. Russia is the only civilized land of which he 
knows where no Christian Student Movement or religious 
student meeting of any kind whatever is permitted. It is the 
only country where even three or four Christian students 
cannot meet in secret or in public to discuss religion. To 
his knowledge some Christian students have been imprisoned 
or banished on account of their religious beliefs, some are 
in exile, some have been expelled from the universities, while 
more are silenced, living their lonely lives in secret. This is 
the only country the writer visits where he does not know 
of a single university student who can openly profess his 
religious faith and remain unmolested. 

The Constitution of Soviet Russia guarantees liberty of 
conscience and liberty of worship. The letter of the law is 
fulfilled, and to some extent its spirit, by permitting the 
majority of the places of worship to function, in connection 
with Christianity and all other religions. The writer found 
most of the churches which he visited holding regular ser- 
vices unmolested, and fairly well attended Thus the Gov- 
ernment keeps the letter of the law^ The moment, however, 
that a priest or minister is found to be prophetic or effective, 
if he can reach students or youth or labor, any of the 
dynamic classes, he must be silenced at once or sent into 


exile. He is dealt with by the tribunal of the secret police, 
so quietly that often even the man's neighbors do not know 
what has happened to him. Some have been removed, some 
exiled, some have had their churches or places of worship 
closed upon one technicality or another, some have been 
expelled from their institutions, or had their publications 
suppressed, but almost all vital preachers or active religious 
workers have been silenced. 

In most other respects conditions on the whole are better 
today than in Czarist Russia. But the writer does not find 
even a tithe of the religious liberty enjoyed under the old 
tyrannical regime. In this very city of Moscow, where we are 
now writing, although forbidden by the police, we conducted 
religious meetings for students before the war, with an 
attendance of two hundred a night, crowded on the floor of 
two adjoining students* rooms. Today in Soviet Russia we 
would not dare, for their sakes, to meet even four or five stu- 
dents in public or in private to discuss the subject of religion. 

Eighteen years ago here in Moscow we formed friend- 
ships with some of the students. When we visited here 
seven years ago we could see them individually though we 
could not meet with even a small group to tell them what 
was going on in other lands in the student movement. 
Three years ago they begged us not even to call upon them. 
Today we dare not even meet them. Most Russians of the 
old intellectual or religious classes are now afraid to have 
any contact whatever with foreigners for obvious reasons. 

The attitude of the Soviet leaders to religion is clear, 
consistent and implacable. As the matter is important we 


shall quote them somewhat at length. Lenin thus clearly 
states the official attitude of communists to religion in the 
early revolutionary days : "The philosophy of Social Democ- 
racy is based on scientific socialism, i.e., on Marxism. As 
Marx and Engels frequently declared, the philosophic basis 
of Marxism is dialectical materialism a materialism which 
is absolutely atheistic and strongly hostile to all religion. 
. . . 'Religion is the opium of the people,' said Marx, and 
this thought is the cornerstone of the whole Marxian philos- 
ophy in the question of religion. Marxism regards all 
religions and churches, all religious organizations, as organs 
of bourgeois reaction, serving to drug the minds of the 
working class and to perpetuate their exploitation." 

Lenin then endorses EngePs opposition to a war on 
religion as stupid and as the best means of reviving it He 
maintains that religion is a private matter so far as the state 
is concerned but not as it concerns each party member. He 
continues : "Marxism is materialism. . . . We must combat 
religion. . . . The fight must be directed toward eradi- 
cating the social roots of religion. . . . The roots of re- 
ligion today are to be found in the social oppression of the 
masses, in their apparently complete helplessness in face of the 
blind forces of capitalism. . . . We are resolutely opposed to 
offending their religious convictions in the slightest degree." * 

Again Lenin says: "Religion is one of the forms of 
spiritual oppression, lying everywhere on the masses of the 
people. The helplessness of the exploited classes in their 

* Selections from Lenin, Vol. II, pp. 269-279, Collected Works, Russian 
XI, pp. 250-260. 


struggle with the exploiters just as inevitably generates faith 
in a better life beyond the grave as the helplessness of the 
savage in his struggle with nature produces faith in gods, 
devils, miracles, and so forth. To him who works and is 
poor all his life religion teaches passivity and patience in 
earthly life, consoling him with the hope of a heavenly 
reward. To those who live on the labor of others religion 
teaches benevolence in earthly life, offering them a very 
cheap justification for all their exploiting existence and sell- 
ing tickets to heavenly happiness at a reduced price. Re- 
ligion is opium for the people/ 9 * 

Stalin thus states his position on religion : "The Party 
cannot be neutral in regard to religion. Communists who 
hinder the broadest development of anti-religious propa- 
ganda have no place in the ranks of the Party." 2 

Bukharin sums up the whole controversy when he says : 
"Religion and communism are incompatible both theoreti- 
cally and practically." "The Christian code runs : Whoso- 
ever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the 
other also/ In most cases there is an irreconcilable conflict 
between the principles of communist tactics and the com- 
mandments of religion." 3 

Released themselves from Czarist oppression, the first 
legislation and constitutional guarantees of the Soviets 
regarding religion were somewhat generous. 4 

* Thoughts of Lemn About Religion, by E. Jaroslavsky, p. 10, 

s Interview with the American Labour Delegation, Sept. 15, 1927. 

* A B C of Communism, Bukharin, English Edition, pp. 256, 257. 
*The legal position of religion in Russia was guaranteed by the 13th 

article of the Constitution of the U. S. S. R. and by the decree of the 


The Constitution at first granted equal freedom for re- 
ligious or anti-religious propaganda. Article 5 of the 
Constitution of the R. S. F. S. R. in its former redaction 
read as follows: "In order to provide the workers actual 
freedom of conscience the church is separated from the state 
and the school from the church, while freedom for religious 
and anti-religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens/ 5 
Thriving under this measure of religious liberty there was a 
rapid growth among the sectarians who appealed strongly 
to peasants, workers and youth, especially among the Bap- 
tists and Evangelicals. Communists were alarmed when 
these bodies soon trebled their pre-war following and 
reported several million adherents attending their services. 
After 1928 a more active anti-religious policy became ap- 
parent. This was evident in the change of the wording of 
the Constitution from "freedom for religious and anti- 
religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens," to 

Soviet of the People's Commissaries, January 13, 1918; also by addi- 
ditiona! and explanatory legislative measures. According to the letter 
of these legislative acts, religion enjoyed relative freedom ; they forbade 
the issue of local laws limiting freedom of conscience; also such laws 
as would grant certain prerogatives for the adherence to a certain re- 
ligion or for the denial of all religion. They forbade that adherence to 
religion should entail the loss of any juridical rights, declaring that re- 
ligion is the private business of a citizen. They guaranteed freedom 
of religious propaganda; they did not forbid the religious education of 
children by the parents at home; and persons having attained 18 years 
of age had the right to receive it in special institutions. They declared 
the liberty of Church organizations, conferences, congresses, of the re- 
ligious press and of divine service. The only thing demanded by the law 
was that religion should be eliminated from state and public life; that 
religion should be declared the private business of every citizen. 


"freedom for religious confession and anti-religions propa- 
ganda is recognized for all citizens." * 

Under existing law, not less than twenty persons who 
have reached the age of eighteen years may form a recog- 
nized religious society or church. This group must be 
registered. Each person may belong to only one local group 
and each society may have the right to the use of only one 
place of worship. Religious bodies are forbidden all educa- 
tional, philanthropic, social or practical activities. They are 
not allowed to form cooperatives, agricultural or industrial 
associations. They are forbidden "special meetings for 
children, youths, and women for prayer purposes . . . 
literary, needlework . . . excursions and children's gather- 
ings, to found libraries and reading rooms, to organize 
sanatoria and medical assistance." Their church property 
is nationalized. The teaching of religion in any public or 
private educational institution is forbidden, but theological 
courses may be organized by special permission for those 
over eighteen years of age. 2 

In the beginning the soviet authorities were hostile to 
the Orthodox Church and relatively lenient to the sedi 
who like themselves had been persecuted under the Czarist 
regime. The growth and success of the sects has made 
them reverse this attitude. The majority of the Orthodox 
churches, both in the cities and in the villages, are still open 

1 Redaction adopted by the Congress of Soviets in May, 1929. Izvestia, 
May 22, 1929. 

2 Decree of the Alt-Russian Central Executive Committee, Izvestia, 
April 26, 1929, See Soviet and Religion, Carnegie Endowment Series, 
No. 261, June 19, 1930, p. 303. 


and regularly conduct services as they have ever since the 
Revolution. But most of the sectarian places of worship 
have been closed, together with their clubs, collectives and 
groups for cooperative labor. 

Upon his annual visits to Russia the writer has always 
attended the churches, both in the city and in the country. 
Upon a Saturday night he visited eight churches in Moscow. 
They were almost, though not quite, as well filled as before 
the war. Men, women and girls were present. The boys 
and younger men were conspicuously absent so far as the 
workers and peasants were concerned. 

In 1921 the authorities requisitioned the treasures of the 
churches and sold them for famine relief. Some eccle- 
siastical authorities who resisted were shot, exiled or im- 
prisoned. There was open warfare between the atheist 
government and the Orthodox Church. The former ex- 
posed the frauds of the church by simply opening the 
coffins of the "incorruptible saints," exposing the dry 
bones, wax figures or bogus paraphernalia which had been 
used to hoodwink the superstitious masses in their pilgrim- 
ages to the sacred shrines and monasteries. There were also 
frequent excesses by mobs against hypocritical or unpopular 
priests and monks. The Patriarch declared open war upon 
the revolutionary government. The leaders of the church, 
national or local, often made common cause with the early 
anti-revolutionary forces for the overthrow of the govern- 
ment, and later at times with the kulaks and those who 
opposed the government plan for collective agriculture. 

Government officials, communists and members of the 


anti-religious organizations have in turn done all that they 
could to cripple the church. They have welcomed and fos- 
tered every evidence of a division or internal ecclesiastical 
quarrel. They have endeavored to discredit representa- 
tives of the hierarchy in the eyes of the clergy and people, to 
hinder or render difficult communication between the cen- 
tral authorities and local churches, to cripple theological ed- 
ucation, to hinder the religious education of children while 
furthering anti-religious education. They have placed legal 
restrictions and increasingly heavy and multiplying taxation 
upon priests and parishes which have effectively "liquidated" 
many of them. 1 They have arrested or exiled many of the 
ablest and most earnest and effective leaders, leaving chiefly 
the formal, and apparently harmless, priests to conduct Or- 
thodox services. They have closed the religious press and 
prevented religious propaganda. They have abolished the 
monasteries and many of the most honored shrines. Under 
the Third Section of the G. P. U. they have organized with- 
in the church among its own ministers and laymen, by fear, 
by economic pressure, by the methods of the third degree, a 
network of informers and agents to discover and eliminate 
the most influential and effective representatives of the 
church. 2 With all the civilized world, communists look 
with loathing and indignation upon the old secret police 
of the Czars and disfranchise them and their families* 

1 Rent for a small room for the clergy is abnormally high. Local as- 
sessments of "voluntary" taxation, and taxes in "kind/* though the clergy 
are deprived by law from engaging in agriculture, tend to make their 
position impossible. 

2 Within recent years at least 196 bishops have been arrested and exiled. 


Yet their own Third Section of the G. P. U. carries on its 
equally odious and loathsome work. So far as this activity 
is concerned, can they expect any other attitude toward 
themselves than that of the whole world toward the Czarist 
order's despicable police? 

When the clergy are unable to fulfill the heavy demands 
of taxation their property is confiscated or sold at auction. 
Children of the clergy are frequently deprived of rights 
because of their origin. They are often not accepted in 
the schools and of course not in the universities. The 
clergy are refused medical aid. Since January, 1930, they 
have been deprived of the use of the mails, telegraph and 
telephone, of letters, money orders or parcels. This means 
hardship and suffering for the exiled clergy, and places 
them outside the law. According to government statistics 
fifty per cent of the present ministers of religion are over 
fifty years of age and only five per cent below thirty. 1 As 
theological preparation is limited or crippled this would 
point toward their final hoped for "liquidation." 

To those accustomed to civil liberties and religious tol- 
eration of western countries, religious persecution would 
seem unthinkable in the twentieth century, but to the com- 
munist, liberty, democracy and toleration are only "bour- 
geois prejudices." Thus characteristically Izvestia, the 
official organ of the Government, writes : "Religious toler- 
ance is, of course, an element of liberalism, yet it is pro- 
claimed in our constitution. This element of liberalism is 

1 Statistics published by the Department of Religions of the People's 
Commissariat of Internal Affairs. 


included by the communist party In Its political and cul- 
tural practice by no means by reason of its being in any 
way inclined toward peace with any sort of popery, cer- 
tainly not because of any weakening in our hatred towards 
religion and our endeavor to destroy it. On the contrary, 
by our religious tolerance we simply conveniently limit the 
field of struggle and decline to use a worthless weapon. 
Our country is still full of a great number of various sorts 
of believers. To challenge them to a final, decisive battle, 
to proclaim them persecuted because of 'prohibition of 
faith* would mean that we become supporters of the priests, 
because by such means we would immediately cast a significant 
part of these masses into the arms of the priests." x 

In the light of the above we can understand the present 
drive against religion in the field of education. Krap- 
skaya, Madam Lenin, said : "It is necessary more and more 
to inject a materialistic spirit into education, to energeti- 
cally work with organizations of children, to develop in 
them the spirit of comradeship, to extricate more deeply the 
very roots of religion." 2 

Lunacharsky, former Commissar of Education, warned 
religious teachers, whom he estimated at still 30 or 40 per 
cent of the teaching force, as follows; "The believing 
teacher in- the soviet school is an awkward contradiction, 
and departments of popular education are bound to use every 
opportunity to replace such teachers with new ones, of anti- 
religious sentiments." In his speech before the Fourteenth 

June 8 1929. 
fl The Way to the New School, August 7, 1928. 


All-Russian Congress of Soviets he said: "All our cultural 
institutions . . . must be considered by us as working on 
the front for the repulse of the religious danger. ... I 
should like in the most sadistic manner to root out and tear 
out somehow this very weed from our fields and gardens/' l 

During a former visit to Russia, in an interview with 
Rudziatak, then head of the Russian railways and member 
of the Political Bureau, he spoke with keen disappointment 
of an American business man who had just been in Russia 
selling his goods, because this man had appeared to be 
friendly to them but had bitterly criticized their whole 
regime after he had departed. It suddenly occurred to us 
that these leaders might say the same of our whole party, 
for we were most certainly going to criticize them upon our 
return to our own country. Accordingly we had an inter- 
view with Trotzky's sister, Madam Kamaneva, then the 
head of the Cultural Relations Society, and inquired if we 
could meet the Soviet leaders for a friendly conference to 
tell them exactly what we thought of their system, what we 
were going to say and write about it, and frankly bring 
forward our every criticism or indictment of it, thus giving 
them an opportunity to reply and state their side of the 
case, which we were anxious to hear. 

Accordingly the meeting was arranged. Our party of 
twenty- four Americans held a caucus to discuss what ap- 
peared to be, in our opinion, the chief evils or defects in 
their system. Four of our number were chosen to present 

w i May 17, 1929. 


the four principal indictments. These were handed in 
writing in advance to the Soviet leaders, and four of their 
number were chosen to present their side of the case. 
The four principal evils singled out were : their dictatorship 
with its severe abridgment of liberty; their policy of world 
revolution by violence; their attitude toward religion; and 
their relationship to other nations which did not encourage 
cooperation, recognition, loans, concessions or trade. 

For four hours we attacked them unsparingly upon these 
four vulnerable points, and listened to the speakers they 
had chosen to state their case and defend their policies. 
Never in any other country or upon any other occasion 
have we been so brutally frank, so merciless in our criti- 
cism. Our arguments were received and replied to in the 
finest spirit. Both sides spoke with healthy realism and 
frank objectivity. It was one of the most Interesting and 
enlightening discussions we had ever known. 

The writer, who spoke second, asked: If the avowed 
communist objective was world revolution, involving the 
overthrow of existing governments, why should we grant 
them recognition or loans or any other cooperation? The 
writer also seconded the criticism of the preceding speaker 
as to their denial of liberty. In that very city of Moscow, 
tinder the unspeakable Czarist regime, which we condemned 
with them, we had been able to give lectures and conduct 
meetings for students as we had all over Russia for be- 
lievers or unbelievers, theists, atheists or agnostics. Why 
then were we not free to do so under the present regime ? 
Why was this the only government on earth, laying claim 


to be civilized, which did not permit public meetings or lec- 
tures for students upon the subject of religion? 

When the editor of The Godless rose to reply he stated 
that there was nothing in their constitution, which guar- 
anteed liberty of conscience, to prevent our holding such 
meetings. Upon this statement we challenged him to a 
debate upon the following Sunday upon the subject of re- 
ligion Theism versus Atheism. He immediately accepted 
the challenge and we agreed upon the terms of the debate. 
There were to be four speakers, two Christians, the writer 
and a Russian friend, and two atheists ; each speaker was 
to be allowed an hour, with questions following. 

A large hall was secured in the city, a notice was put 
in the papers and within forty-eight hours every seat was 
sold and the proceeds given to an orphanage, according to 
the agreement. We had expected to meet an audience of 
atheists and probably go down to a forensic defeat, in the 
hope of getting the door of tolerance or religious liberty 
opened just a little further. To our surprise, about one- 
third of the audience were Christians who boldly heckled 
the communist speakers, as the atheists heckled the Russian 
Christian who spoke. Some two hundred written questions 
were handed up to be answered, such as : "Please explain 
to us the relation between lynching and Christianity. We 
do not lynch people over here, nor deny them justice be- 
cause of their color or race, but we understand that you do 
lynch negroes in Christian America. What is the relation 
of that practice to your religion?" 

t The debate began on a Sunday afternoon. In five hours 


the hall had to be cleared for the next engagement. It is 
a good thing it had, or we might have been kept much, more 
than five hours. In any event, it seemed to the writer that 
the proverbial interest of the Russian in religion was so 
vital and deep that nothing could ever uproot it from his 
heart. It seemed that no tyranny could be maintained forever 
even over a long-suffering population, and that once real 
liberty were granted religion would reassert itself again 
and find expression, as it always has in history, along with 
every other elemental and fundamental capacity of the 
human spirit 

We were impressed by the fairness of the chairman, of 
one of the Russian speakers and of most of the audience. 
The reports in the papers next day were as intolerant and 
as unfair as they could well be. But without a single pri- 
vately owned or free paper in all Russia, no reply was pos- 
sible and no statement of the other side of the case. As 
the Russian official said to us : "People believe what they are 
told. And we propose to tell them." 

The willingness to have the debate at all was to their 
credit and indicated a measure of tolerance at that time. 
That was In 1926. Today things have "tightened up," both 
politically against all opponents of the group now in power, 
and religiously in the more determined drive against the 
churches, especially the once successful sectarians. No 
such discussion with the leaders and no such debate would 
be permitted or be possible today. In the almost kaleido- 
scopic changes which are continually taking place in Russia 
anything may happen in the future. For some years there 


will probably be a trial of strength and the determined en- 
deavor to uproot the last vestiges of religion from the 
rising generation and from the dynamic classes students, 
organized youth, members of the red army, the trade 
unions, the collective farms, and the schools. 

In the opinion of many competent observers communists 
will have to take their choice between an endless tyranny 
seeking to make standardized robots, which no really awak- 
ened, critical and self-governing people with any initiative 
will permanently tolerate, and a liberty that will witness, 
if history repeats itself, the reappearance of religion among 
the classes where it has been temporarily eliminated. 

Their propagandized atheism, which is a kind of fanatical 
religion, however they may abhor the term, is no more 
necessarily permanent than was the esthetic mysticism of 
their former Byzantine religion. One of the most power- 
ful preachers in Russia today for the moment silenced 
because no really powerful preacher is given freedom was 
once a convinced atheist. There were villages in Siberia 
for a time converted from their orthodox religion to atheism 
by propaganda, which were for a time swept again into the 
stream of a new and vital religious life by some dynamic 
modern preacher of the free churches. Tyranny is no test 
of truth, and no measure of faith. Russia will have to 
choose eventually between liberty and tyranny. A people 
under the subjection of slavery, serfdom or religious op- 
pression will never lead the world. Once they are granted 
liberty, or take it for themselves, we shall see whether 
atheism or theism is native to the human heart, whether 


irreligion or religion is natural. By their fruits the two 
systems will be judged. As long as there are slums, child 
labor, neglected unemployment, lynching, bootlegging and 
lawlessness prevalent under a system of liberalism and 
religion, the verdict may not be a foregone conclusion, save 
in the dogmatic, a priori claim of convinced religionists. 
If that is the best that religion can do in these economic 
and social areas after nineteen centuries in the world, and 
after four centuries of Czarism, it will take more than 
credal claims to justify it. 

If, on the other hand, the communist system dare not 
even give the other side a hearing, if it claims a monopoly 
of all propaganda and power, and can only maintain itself 
by continued force what test of truth does it offer and 
what hope of winning educated men in a world that is still 
intellectually free? On the one hand what is wrong if, 
after nineteen centuries, Christianity has not been tried 
and found wanting, but has not even been fairly tried? 
And, on the other hand, what claim can communism make 
upon free men if it dare not let anything be tried, save at 
the dictation or by the manipulation of an infinitesimal 
group within a small party? A proverbial visitor from 
Mars would probably conclude that however incommensur- 
able and however great their disparity, here were two major 
systems both experimental and both on trial. 

Russia is now in the midst of a prolonged battle between 
the forces of religion and anti-religion. In many homes 
we saw the ikons supplanted by pictures of Lenin. In 
others the ikon is in one corner and the picture of Lenin in 


the other, sometimes signifying a divided allegiance, either 
between the husband and wife, or in the heart of the same 
person. The most aggressive drive against religion today 
is conducted by the Militant Godless Society whose pur- 
pose, according to its constitution, is "active, systematic 
and continuous struggle against religion in all its forms 
and appearances." When the writer visited their head- 
quarters in Moscow he found an able and earnest staff of 
voluntary workers, mostly professors and students, and a 
small paid executive. Their honesty, zeal and enthusiasm 
were transparent For them, this was evidently a burning 
crusade to overthrow the greatest evil they knew, as the 
opiate or poison of the people, and to establish -the new 
millenium of communism. They frankly and proudly ex- 
plained their methods of work by magazines, posters, lec- 
tures and every possible form of propaganda. They took 
particular satisfaction in telling how they successfully 
closed the churches. They would go two by two to every 
apartment in the neighborhood of a church and ask whether 
the inmates would prefer to have the building used for pur- 
poses of worship on Sunday, or have it turned into a useful 
club or neighborhood house continually open for all. When 
they had secured the signatures of the majority of the 
neighborhood, they would petition the authorities to have the 
building confiscated for secular purposes. Thus they 
claimed that already more than half the churches of Mos- 
cow had been closed. !^ If so, it would still be true that the 
majority of the 50,000 churches of Russia are open, though 
only a minority of the former 400,000 priests are still ftmc- 


tioning. The Godless Society, together with the Govern- 
ment, publishes anti-religious textbooks for peasants. The 
Society has had more than twenty anti-religious motion 
pictures prepared for its campaigns. It sends out its lec- 
tures, speakers and propagandists like any other voluntary 
missionary society. 

It is active in the red army and higher educational insti- 
tutions. After their agitation the Presidium of the local 
Soviet Government prohibited the ringing of church bells 
in Moscow, and the city is now strangely silent. 3 - Church 
bells have been removed from a number of the churches and 
metal factories have been supplied for some time to come. 

Special "anti-religious universities" have been founded 
in thirteen cities to prepare leaders for their atheistic mis- 
sionary campaign. The Godless Society publishes a num- 
ber of papers and magazines. 2 In addition to these, during 
1929, 507 anti-religious publications were issued. In a 
recent debate as to the most successful methods for their 
campaign, alarm was professed that two million young men 
had gone into various religious bodies, while the Society, on 
the other hand, professed to have at that time over two and a 
half million Militant Godless members. 3 Probably both fig- 
ures would have to be taken with a grain of salt. The growth 
in membership claimed by the Society to date is as follows : 

1927 1928 1929 1930 

Militant Godless Membership 98,402 123,007 700,000 3,000,000 

* Isvestia, January 6, 1930. 

3 The Anti-religious Worker, designed for agitators and leaders, 
reaches 20,000 ; their bi-weekly magazine has 80,000 readers ; their prin- 
cipal weekly journal, The Godless, claims a circulation of 375,000* 

8 Leningrad Krasnaya Gazeta, April 19, 1930. 


The Society's anti-religious five-year plan proposes to 
increase this number from three to five-fold. Their mili- 
tant methods, however, frequently produce an unfavorable 
reaction. An over-zealous campaign in the homes of the 
teachers in the Romensky region on Christmas eve so 
"frightened all the children" and caused such resentment 
that the Society recognized its mistake. Here, however, 
is a permanent working organization to be reckoned with 
like any other missionary society. 

Early in 1930 the whole campaign for the collectives and 
against the kulaks and the church went to such lengths and 
excesses, and the world protest against the persecution of 
religion was so widespread, that it was followed by Stalin's 
article of March 2, 1930, regarding the collective move- 
ment on "Heads turned with success" in which he ironically 
attacks those who introduce collectivization "by beginning 
with tearing down the church bells." Folio-wing this the 
Central Committee of the Communist Party on March 15, 
1930, spoke of the "entirely unpermissible deviations from 
the Party line in the area of struggle against religious 
prejudices," while Party organizations were "to definitely 
discontinue the practice of closing churches by administra- 
tive measures, covering themselves by fictitious voluntary 
social demands of the population." 

The forces on the side of this anti-religious campaign 
are seemingly overwhelming. They claim some three mil- 
lion connected with the Godless Society. There are about 
two million members and probationers of the Communist 
Party; all of whom must be atheists. The red army nurn- 


bering over 560,000 is made a special field for the anti- 
religious campaign. The movement is strong among the 
nearly 12,000,000 in the trade unions. Nearly 6,000,000 
in the youth organizations are being trained in this crusade. 
It is also being organized in the whole educational system 
with the avowed object of rooting religion out of the minds 
of the rising generation. Pressure may also be increasingly 
brought to bear upon the one-quarter of the population 
already in the collectives and communes. Behind this cru- 
sade is all the concentrated wealth and power and propa- 
ganda of a determined dictatorship. 

On the other side is a church that was never prepared 
intellectually, morally or socially to meet such an ordeal. 
Yet some of the priests, persecuted, reviled, over-taxed in 
their often abject poverty, and almost broken as some of 
them are, write: "There is no power, physical or moral, 
which can destroy in our people the holy Christian religion, 
still less uproot from the heart of man the idea of God/* 
The same spirit that was manifest under the persecutions 
of Nero or Diocletian is reappearing in Russia today. It 
is as yet too early to foretell the outcome, except on a priori 
grounds. Certainly the church never had to meet in th$ 
persecution of the Roman E'mpire, intermittent, spasmodic, 
brutal, or stupid as it often was, what it has to face in this 
relentless, implacable, ruthless persecution of cold intelli- 
gence. On the one hand it need not be exaggerated by wild 
and hectic reports, nor on the other hand are the nations 
hoodwinked by the mere letter of the law or Constitution* 
It is not words but deeds that count. 


The world should not underrate the intelligence, the con- 
viction or the clear and consistent policy of the soviet lead- 
ers of Russia in this crusade against religion. Nor on the 
other hand, should these leaders imagine that the rest of the 
world is stupid. What is done in Russia cannot be hid. 
The church in Czarist Russia could not be hid. A body 
that could expel the great Count Leo Tolstoi and let him 
die an excommunicate, and allow a drunken brute, Rasputin, 
to dominate Czar and Czarina, and sometimes officers of 
the army and members of the cabinet, could not be hid. 
Neither can the conditions in the Solovyetzky Island, nor 
some of the sadist persecutions of the Third Section of the 
Department of Secret Operations of the G. P. U. < 

People of America little realize how widely the world is 
still concerned with Saccho and Vanzetti, and with Mooney 
and Billings. Leaders in Russia who think that, true to 
their picture, the greed of a "capitalist" society thinks only 
of concessions and trade, do not yet realize that the world 
cares far more about these moral and human conditions, 
just as it did in the Czarist regime. We can only hope that 
the time will come when these evils will be corrected, and 
that we can commend them for a whole policy brought out 
into the open light of day, as we can now admire many as- 
pects of their titanic five year plan and their magnificent 
economic progress in the face of terrific hardships and al- 
most insurmountable obstacles. 



We have asked ourselves, what is communism in theory 
and in fact, and how is it working in the U. S. S. R. ? We 
have endeavored briefly to survey Russia's agricultural, in- 
dustrial, and political life, its education and culture, its 
administration of law and justice, its attitudes and practices 
concerning moral and religious questions. Let us now seek, 
as impartially as we can, to evaluate the entire system. What 
are its defects and its possible values, and what influence is 
it likely to have for good or evil upon the life of the world ? 

Since the psychology of an opposing social order demands 
criticism first, what are the outstanding evils of the system? 
From our point of view there are essentially three : a dicta- 
torship with its constant danger of tyranny, the policy of 
world revolution by violence and destruction, and an attitude 
of bigotry and intolerance which manifests itself in such 
matters as the persecution of religion. Let us consider each 
of these in turn. 

1. Dictatorship 

This dictatorship, though in aim democratic for the work- 
ing class, sometimes takes the form of tyranny and some- 
times of terror. In the age-long quest to solve the problem 
of the relation of the individual to society, the rights of the 



one and of the many, the question of freedom on the one 
hand and order on the other, the political pendulum tends 
to swing to the two extremes of anarchy and tyranny. As 
between an extreme individualism and a rigid collectivism, 
although conscious of the danger of both, communists have 
chosen the latter, and the western world of liberalism the 
former. At this point they are in striking contrast and in 
open conflict. Liberalism demands a maximum of personal 
liberty, communism an absolute social control 

Marx maintained that all history showed that capitalism 
was based upon force, however veiled, that it would finally 
defend its property rights against human rights by all neces- 
sary violence. Therefore he insisted that the only hope was 
violent revolution followed by a period of iron dictatorship. 
Since revolution always produces counter-revolution, they 
must use the ruthless methods of capitalism for its extinc- 
tion: "From the first hour of victory, the workers must level 
their distrust against their former allies." Openly con- 
temptuous of democracy as a bourgeois prejudice, reliance 
must be placed only upon a class-conscious minority. They 
must know neither compassion nor remorse but must forcibly 
terrorize their opponents into submission, "by execution, im- 
prisonment, forced labor, control of the press. . . . Revo- 
lution is war and war is founded on terror." * Lenin says 
there can only be freedom when there are no classes, r\o sur- 
viving enemies, and when the state has finally disappeared. 2 

1 Karl Marx by H. J. Laski, p. 36. 

3 "Only in Communist society , . . when the capitalists have disap- 
peared, where there are no longer any classes . . . only then does the 


Such is the theory and such the practice of communism. 
Let us notice how this dictatorship widens out to the control 
of almost all of life. For there is no halting place, nowhere 
to draw the line to limit its tendency to ubiquitous control. 
To begin with, a dictatorship must obviously dominate the 
entire government. But that is impossible without complete 
control of finance, of industry and of collective agriculture. 
All organizations such as trade unions and cooperatives must 
be brought into harmony with the general scheme. But 
since many of the older generation, undisciplined and un- 
trained to the new order, prove recalcitrant or unresponsive, 
the rising generation must by all means be captured and 
molded. Therefore all of education, all pupils and students^ 
and as quickly as possible, all teachers must be brought under 
the scheme of the dictatorship. They are concerned with 
what every teacher teaches and with what every pupil Is 
taught. All education thus becomes propaganda. 

All youth organizations must train for the new citizen- 
ship. But the control of formal education is not enough. 
All that the pepple read, all they see, all they are told must, 
as far as possible, be "truth" according to the dictatorship, 

state disappear and can one speak of freedom." The State and Revolu- 
tion. See Liberty Under the Soviets, p. 20. 

Btikharin writes : "In extreme cases the workers' government must not 
hesitate to use the method of the terror. Only when the suppression of 
the exploiters is complete, when they have ceased to resist, when it is no 
longer in their power to injure the working class, will the proletarian 
dictatorship grow progressively milder. Meanwhile the bourgeoisie, lit- 
tle by little, will fuse with the proletariat ; the workers' State will gradu- 
ally die out; society as a whole will be transformed into a communist 
society in which there will be no classes." A B C of Communism, by 
N. Bukharin and E. Preobrazhensky, p. 81. 


Therefore every radio, every moving picture, every news- 
paper and every line of the press must tell the same story, or 
permit only criticism by the proletarian class that does not 
attack the fundamental basis of the dictatorship. 

But even this is not enough. Since all depends upon a 
party, the Party, the only one permitted, that above all must 
be united, "monolithic/' It must present a "solid front'* 
to its world of enemies. Therefore it is unsafe to allow 
complete democracy even within the one per cent of the 
population who are Party members. Any deviation to left 
or right, any continued criticism or independent action, after 
the supreme organ of authority has made its decision, is 
counted disloyalty and sedition and must be dealt with even 
more mercilessly than class enemies. Therefore the left 
wing sedition, Trotzky and several thousands of his follow- 
ers, must be banished, exiled, imprisoned, excluded, silenced 
or crushed. No quarter can be given them in Russia or in 
any orthodox Communist Party in the world. And mem- 
bers in the deviation on the right, who think that the Party 
is moving too fast, and that the people are suffering from 
the strenuous pace, must be silenced or brought to their 
knees in repentance and humiliating confession. 

Outside the Party, the dictatorship must so control that 
all who are counted class enemies of the regime must be 
crushed For the most part they must not be allowed to 
leave the country which counts them "enemies", thus making 
Russia for them one vast prison house from which there is 
no escape. They are often denied work, or any means for 
their maintenance, refused a passport to leave the country, 


cut off from foreigners, suspected and hounded with spies 
if they have any intercourse whatever with them. Fre- 
quently prohibited from sending a penny of support to needy 
relatives outside the country, and often not allowed to receive 
help from them, they are a pitiful spectacle before the world. 
This applies not only to conservative White Russians but 
to all radicals and socialists who do not agree with com- 
munist orthodoxy as interpreted by the group in control of 
the central organs of the Party. Thus the dictatorship is 
extended largely to the control of nearly every individual 
in certain phases of life in Russia. 

And let us notice not only how this dictatorship extends 
to almost the whole of life, but how the principal of "cen- 
tralism" ever narrows the monopoly of power to the few. 
Theoretically, this is a dictatorship of the whole proletariat, 
all workers, peasants and soldiers or, let us say, nine-tenths 
of the population. But obviously this vast conglomeration 
of often uneducated, individualistic and potentially capital- 
istic peasants are not ready for effective membership in the 
proletariat. They must first turn to the industrial workers. 
But many of these also are not disciplined for a socialist 
society. Therefore the control must be practically limited 
to the Communist Party. But even this party is liable to a 
right or left "deviation" that is dangerous. Therefore the 
control must be centralized in an executive and then in a 
plenum of the executive. But since there are at least two 
fractions striving to dominate these bodies, one or the 
other must be excluded, and the loyal followers of the man 
or group in power must be placed in positions of authority. 


Finally, the inner control narrows down to the nine members 
of a political bureau and their eight associates, and if any 
of these are not in harmony with one man and his associates 
they must be eliminated. Thus, in the end, a dictatorship 
of the whole working class or nine-tenths of the population, 
has a tendency to narrow itself to one man and a few loyal 
associates or followers who fill the interlocking positions of 
the secretariat, political and organization bureaus. 

All of this is the natural and almost inevitable develop- 
ment of a dictatorship of the proletariat, which Lenin, loyally 
following Marx, defined to mean the "dictatorship of its 
determined and conscious minority." 1 It becomes in fact 
a minority, very determined, very conscious, and very small. 

We have thus an ever-narrowing dictatorship in "demo- 
cratic" centralism. What are its undesirable results ? There 
is, first of all, the large liability of error for any minority 
which holds a dangerous monopoly of power. No man is 
infallible. A dictatorship must crush other minorities or 
individuals who oppose. It may at times even find itself 
in opposition to the majority or the great mass of the people, 
but ex hypothesis it must "govern or get out." So it gov- 
erns. Nearly all the reforms and hopes of history have 
been led at first by an opposing minority. But once action 
has been taken all such must be nipped In the bud. "It is 
a commonplace of history that power is poisonous to those 
who exercise it. ... To sit continuously in the seat of 
office is inevitably to become separated from the minds and 

1 Russian Soviet Republic^ p. 324. 


wants of those over whom you govern. . . The special vice 
of every historic system of government has been its inevi- 
table tendency to identify its own private good with the pub- 
lic welfare. To suggest that communists might do the same 
is no more than to postulate their humanity." 1 

Another possible result of such a dictatorship is the ever- 
present danger of tyranny by force. Such a system is 
usually bad both for rulers and ruled. Napoleon in the early 
idealism of the revolution presents something of a heroic 
figure, but in the end he appears a Corsican butcher who has 
reduced the physical and moral stature of the depleted man- 
hood of France. Dictatorships are dangerous both to the 
dictator and to the dictated. 

Once again, history repeats itself in the indefinite con- 
tinuity of a dictatorship. It postulates its future millenium 
in a classless society where man shall not and cannot exploit 
his fellow man, where the state itself will "wither away" and 
men will 'do right from force of habit and early training in 
a favorable environment. But practically, within the limits 
of human experience, that time never comes. At least it 
never has come save in the Utopian, incandescent imagina- 
tion. Actually a dictatorship which was theoretically "tem- 
porary," must not only be indefinitely extended but ever- 
tightened and rendered more complete. It is true that the 
new environment created by the communist system largely 
.eliminates the dangerous motivation of personal greed, which 
is the bane of western nations, but it begets a lust for power 

1 Karl Marx, p. 42, by H. J. Laski 


and a contempt for liberty and for individual personality 
that may prove as prolific a root of evil as the love of money'. 

Take the single instance of the denial of a free press. 
Concretely, what does this mean? What did it mean and 
what were its results in Czarist Russia? We may freely 
grant that this is for a whole class and for a higher end 
that Czarism, but what are the inevitable results of this 
method? Once you are determined to monopolize the press 
and to tell the people what you want them to believe about 
the virtues of your own government and the vices of every 
other, you must sustain a continuous system of propaganda 
that involves constant misrepresentation of foreign peoples 
and conditions. 1 To illustrate the evils of a controlled and 
kept press, it will be remembered that, side by side with a 
free England, Napoleon maintained his dictatorship in 
France. The news of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar and of 
Napoleon's defeat was not permitted publication in the 
French press for twelve years. Compare this with the So- 
viet Union today. 

When the writer was in Russia in 1923 he was completely 
cut off from all foreign sources of world news. Suddenly 
on September first occurred the great Japanese earthquake. 
The author happened to be in the newspaper office of Pravda, 
or Truth, when the editor came up in great excitement to 

1 Professor Paul Monroe of Columbia, in a most sympathetic and appre- 
ciative monograph on Russian education, writes: "Constant misrepre- 
sentation of foreign peoples and conditions, misrepresentation of current 
events, and cultivation of enmity to foreign peoples, is, in my judgment, 
the one great blot on Russian education." Observation on Present Day 
Russia, Carnegie Series, No. 255, p. 588, 


tell him the news. There had, he said, been a terrific earth- 
quake. The bed of the ocean had been pushed up and an 
island had appeared above the surface of the sea. And then 
the ships of the American navy steamed up and seized pos- 
session of this island, true to form, as the natural act of a 
wicked, imperialist and capitalist country. 

It will be remembered that as a matter of fact the Ameri- 
can ships were rushing supplies and relief to the victims of 
the earthquake. But no such friendly cooperation could be 
admitted. Only communist ''truth/' i. e., that which aids 
the revolution, must be told ; while the wickedness of capital- 
ist countries must be painted black. 1 Think what it would 
mean to live under a regime where such a statement could 
not be contradicted or corrected. As the communist leader 
well said : "People believe what they are told. And we pro- 
pose to tell them." So they can if they wish. And the 
followers of the Prophet in early Arabia, or of a primitive 
despotism or dictatorship will believe what they are told 
for a time. For a long time perhaps. But, as Lincoln main- 
tained, you cannot fool all the people all the time, and dicta- 
torships often bring, not their prophesied millenium, but their 
own nemesis. If truth is more precious than gold; if free- 
dom for the mind is more priceless even than food for the 
body, who would voluntarily sell his liberties for such a dic- 
tatorship? It might be forced upon an uneducated mass 

1 Joffe writes : "To deceive your class enemies, to violate, to destroy a 
treaty imposed by force, but never to sin against the revolutionary pro- 
letariat, never to violate the obligation taken on yourself before the revo- 
lution those are the true revolutionary methods of the true revolutionary 
struggle. 1 ' Izvestia, Jan. 1, 1919. 


unschooled in liberty, but will it ever appeal to the consent 
of a free people? 

The aim of democracy is to produce "the capacity of con- 
tinuous Initiative" and the development of full personality 
by a government of, for and by all the people. Let us 
frankly grant that this ideal is as yet far from attainment 
on the part of liberalism. But what shall we say of dictator- 
ship? If the outstanding evils of capitalism are its failure 
to provide equality, freedom and justice for the dispossessed 
mass, dependent on the few who own, or at least control, the 
means of production, how does dictatorship get beyond this 
so long as it denies so many of the essentials of liberty? 
Equally it begs the question to promise a future millenium 
when government has "withered away" on this earth, or to 
promise it in a future world as a compensation for injustice 
in the present. Even if the communist maintains that dic- 
tatorship is a temporary, necessary evil, at least it is an evil, 
stark and unmitigated, that he offers us. We repeat, it is a 
poor substitute for a Magna Carta seven centuries after a 
people have tasted the fruits of liberty. 

An ever-tightening dictatorship that is always in danger 
of becoming, and sometimes does become, tyrannical breeds 
a continuous series of plots and counter-plots, real or imag- 

Thus, in fear of the Baldwin cabinet and the die-hards 
in England in 1927 when relations were severed with Mos- 
cow, the Kremlin saw a deep, sinister purpose to overthrow 
Soviet Russia and Stalin wrote : "We refer not to some in- 
definite, vague 'danger' of a new war, but to the real and 


actual threat of a new war in general, and of a war against 
the Soviet Union in particular." 1 Following this a succes- 
sion of incidents and situations served to maintain a con- 
tinual war psychosis. 

In August, 1930, a number of men were shot in Russia 
for hoarding silver change. In September forty-eight speci- 
alists of the meat packing industry were executed in connec- 
tion with the discovery of a reported food plot. In No- 
vember a plot was reported and indictments were drawn up 
against eight Russians held for trial in connection with an 
alleged world-wide conspiracy to start war against Soviet 
Russia. The public prosecutor, N. U. Krilenko, drew up an 
indictment in thirty solid newspaper columns against some 
forty-five persons at the center, 400 in the provinces, 1500 
minor Russian adherents and many leading men in foreign 
countries, such as Sir Henry Deterding of the Royal Dutch 
Shell Oil Company in England. Self-admitted enemies, 
traitors and confessors, like Professor Ramsin, were re- 
ported to have divulged a plot to the eff ect that after a diplo- 
matic "incident" on the Roumanian border, Roumania was 
to have declared war, to be followed in quick succession by 
Poland, France and England. An army of 600,000 men 
under General Loukomsky was to march on Moscow and 
another on Leningrad. France was to supply arms and am- 
munition and the British fleet was to steam into the Baltic 
and the Black Sea, attacking Leningrad and the Crimea. 

It is quite natural that there should be plots, real or 

1 Isevestia, July 28, 1927. 


imagined, where life is difficult under a high state of tension 
and where attacks are constantly launched by the group in 
power first against the left deviation of Trotzky, then against 
the ablest men on the right, who fear that the pace of the 
five year plan is too dangerously fast, like Premier Rykof , 
Tomsky and Bukharin. It is to be expected that under 
such conditions there is often a factual basis for opposi- 
tion or conspiracy; but also that there is a natural desire 
to find or to avail themselves of scapegoats who can be made 
to bear the brunt of blame for food shortage or hardships, 
or to keep the people diverted or keyed up on the defensive 
against some supposed approaching invasion from without or 
counter-revolution from within. It is all quite natural and 
quite grim, but it hardly offers ground for believing that 
such a system is a final cure for humanity's social ills. 

2. World Revolution 

Here is our second indictment of the system : the dogma 
that the world can only be saved in one way, by the over- 
throw of the government in every capitalist country, when 
the time is ripe, through a destructive revolution of the Rus- 
sian type, as insisted upon by Marx, Lenin and Stalin, iter- 
ated and reiterated unmistakably in all their writings. 

Like dictatorship, revolution is to the communist an evil, 
but he counts it a necessary evil, caused and conditioned by 
the force which sustains the whole unjust capitalist order. 
Let us observe just what this doctrine of the inevitableness 
of revolution implies. It is not merely a bloodless revolu- 
tion, a swift coup d'etat to enable the most wronged and 


benevolent class to seize the state and then all live happily 
ever afterward. Far from it. The whole process is a 
"continuing revolution'' There is a long preparation, lead- 
ing tip to a transition, and followed by a permanent control, 
till one class only shall survive, and every individual who 
differs or opposes shall be obliterated, or, more euphemis- 
tically, "liquidated." 

The American or French revolutions lasted a short time 
till each people was free from its oppressor and they had at- 
tained their measured objectives. Not so the continuing 
Russian revolution. That covers all of life and a vast period 
of time. It operates in at least three phases. First there 
is the period of preparation when the faithful communist in- 
dividual and party is urged to be implacable in following out 
Lenin's twenty-one points adopted by the second congress 
of the Communist International in 1920, for "the revolu- 
tionary overthrow of capitalism/' They are "obligated to 
proclaim a clear break with reformism and with the policy 
of the center and to propagate this break throughout the 
ranks of the entire party membership." Where this com- 
mand is loyally carried out this means a split of hatred and 
division in every local trade union and every national labor 
movement in the world. In the labor movement, for in- 
stance, of Great Britain, or Germany, or Denmark contempt 
is poured upon every non-communist labor leader, and loyal 
communists are bidden to enter each movement in order to 
form factions for the purpose of weakening the authority of 
the recognized leaders and their adopted program. For 
illustration, the labor movement of France was relatively 


strong and effective for the cause of labor until it was 
weakened and divided by the communist split. 

After the preparation there follows the second phase of 
the revolution itself. When the time is ripe, the state is to 
be seized by a determined minority and the whole process of 
the Russian Revolution repeated, allowing only for the vari- 
ation of circumstances and details in other countries. The 
counter-revolution is to be put down by the terror, and the 
old system destroyed. We are not now pleading the merits 
or deserts of the capitalist state, but only pointing out the im- 
measurable risks of unlimited and uncontrollable destruc- 

The third phase of the continuing revolution is the estab- 
lishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, with its ever- 
narrowing centralization of control, its ever-widening sphere 
of domination over each phase of life, and its ever-tighten- 
ing grip until its last enemy has been abolished and in the 
classless society of the future, when no opposition remains, 
and no one wishes to continue in office or power it can safely 
"wither away. 5 ' Such is the naive credulity oflts histor- 
ically baseless future hope. The incorruptible bodies of the 
miracle-working saints of the Czarist church are easy to be- 
lieve, as mere child's play of the religious fantasy, compared 
to the monstrous credulity involved in such a gratuitous 
promise. Under the alchemy of communism they are to 
sow dictatorship and reap liberty, to sow hate and reap love, 
to sow violence and destruction only to reap lasting peace and 
brotherhood ever afterward. 


This policy of world revolution involves complete reliance 
on force, and the distrust of moral suasion and the principle 
of consent. It involves contempt for and enmity with all 
patient, evolutionary, constitutional, educational means and 
leaders who follow them, as "reformist," compromising and 
cowardly. Communism puts all its eggs in the one basket 
of destructive revolution and dictatorship. If it succeeds 
you have Russia. And if it fails? Imagination quails be- 
fore the picture. And there can be no guarantee of success. 
Through war, revolution, famine and pestilence some ten 
millipM^jgerished in Russia between 1917 and 1921. The 
writer recalls the narrative of an eye-witness in the frozen 
famine region when corpses were eaten. But revolution in 
the scattered, rural population of Russia would be far less 
terrible than in a highly industrialized, dense population like 
that of Germany or England, largely dependent upon others 
for their food supply. 1 

In playing with revolution men are loosing the forces of 

^Bukharin writes: "Many persons have supposed that the ferocious 
character of our civil war is due to the backwardness of our country, or 
to some peculiar 'Asiatic 1 traits. The opponents of revolution in western 
Europe are in the habit of saying that 'Asiatic socialism* flourishes in 
Russia, and that in 'civilised' lands a revolutionary change will be effected 
without atrocities. Obviously this is all nonsense. ^ Where capitalist 
development is far advanced, the resistance of the bourgeoisie will be 
more stubborn. The intelligentsia (the professional classes, the techni- 
cians, the managing engineers, the army officers, etc.) are more strongly 
solidarised with capital, and are for that reason far more hostile to 
communism. IE such countries, therefore, the civil war will inevitably 
assume a more savage form than in Russia. The course of the German 
revolution has actually proved that the war assumes harsher forms in 
countries where capitalist development is farther advanced." A B C of 
Communism, pp, 133-133. 


the volcano, the earthquake or the forest fire, which no man 
nor centralized group can control. An individual may direct 
a bomb but he cannot limit a forest fire once it is lighted. 
However unorthodox and industrially undeveloped for revo- 
lution Russia may have been, perhaps never before in history 
was there such a favorable combination of a world war, 
a corrupt government, an indignant people and an able and 
ruthless leadership, such as met in Petrograd in 1917. 

As Laski well observes : "We need not, as communism 
offers us, the formulae of conflict, but the formulae of co- 
operation. The sceptical observer is unconvinced that any 
system ... is entitled from its certainties, to sacrifice all 
that has been acquired so painfully in the heritage of tolera- 
tion and freedom, to the chance that its victory may one day 
compensate for a renunciation that on its own admission, is 
bound to be grim and long, . . He may suspect whether 
any regime that is built on hate and fear and violence can 
give birth to an order rooted in fraternity. For these create 

an environment of which the children are, equally, hate and 

fear and violence. The spirit of man ever takes its revenge 

for degradation inflicted upon it even in the name of good." * 
The appeal to hate or fear or violence brings its own 
nemesis. A terror terrifies but it also paralyzes. The worst 
phases of the earlier Cheka have of course passed, but the 
appeal to fear is still utilized. For illustration, suppose an 
engineer in Russia makes a mistake. Perhaps through no 
fault of his own his bridge, or irrigation dam or factory 

1 H. J. Laski, Communism, p. 244, 


does not succeed. He may be tried for sabotage and im- 
prisoned. Immediately fear takes hold upon others. They 
hesitate to take responsibility. Spies are everywhere. Rus- 
sia has always believed in them, rather than in freedom. 
Unexpectedly, swiftly the lightning strikes, or the blow falls 
upon the unfortunate. There is an arrest at midnight. No 
counsel or witness is allowed in the secret trial of the G. P. U. 
A nameless terror broods and settles down like a cloud. 
That is why many who would otherwise do so are unable 
to do their best work under such a system. That is why 
many a tourist feels a sense of release, as of a burden 
or a cloud lifted, when he leaves a land that believes in dic- 
tatorship, in force and in fear. 

Bertrand Russell points out two objections to the commun- 
ist doctrine of violence: "Once the principle of respecting 
majorities as expressed at the ballot-box is abandoned, there 
is no reason to suppose that victory will be secured by the 
particular minority to which one happens to belong. There 
are many minorities beside communists : religious minorities, 
teetotal minorities, militarist minorities, capitalist minorities. 
. . . They believe that communism is for the good of the 
majority; they ought to believe that they can persuade the 
majority on this question, and to have the patience to set 
about the task of winning by propaganda. . . . 

"The second argument of principle against the method of 
minority violence is that abandonment of law, when it be- 
comes widespread, lets loose the wild beast, and gives a free 
reign to the primitive lusts and egoisms which civilization in 
some degree curbs. . . . Civilization is not so stable that it 


cannot be broken up; and a condition of lawless violence is 
not one out of which any good thing is likely to emerge. . . . 
The Bolshevik philosophy is promoted very largely by despair 
of more gradual methods. But this despair is a mark of im- 
patience, and is by no means warranted by the facts/' 1 

Creativity and construction, at their best, often depend 
upon the motivation of love. Revolution and destruction, 
at their worst, await the kindling fire of hate. Biologically 
and sociologically, love involves creation and sharing, while 
hatred is primarily destructive. It has murder at its heart. 
Perhaps it is the murder of wrong and in the face of flagrant 
and entrenched social evil, it may be closely akin to moral 
indignation. But if love is blind, hatred moves in darkness. 
According to the communist slogan : "Revolution is a storm 
sweeping aside everything that stands in its path" good as 
well as evil. It may be swift and strong to destroy, but pow- 
erless to build again in the midst of Its ashes and embers of 
ruin. Here is a promised panacea, and it must be judged 
upon its merits and by its final results. Its mandate is: 
"Destroy all opposition, hate your enemies, overcome evil 
with evil, and good will result." 

But there is another and opposing principle in life. Its 
commandment is : "Love even your enemies, overcome evil 
with good, beget the good that you would seek by creative 
love, believe in men and in their ultimate response to moral 
suasion, trust them and appeal to the consent of the gov- 
erned rather than coerce them by violence ; patience can yet 
create a classless brotherhood by faith and hope and love." 

1 Bolshevism m Theory and Practice, pp. 146*449, 


Communists would tell us that these are baseless dreams, 
that free men will never love or share or give justice to their 
dispossessed dependents. If that is so, if those who have 
power flaunt their unshared wealth in the face of unrelieved 
proverty and want and unemployment, then red history as 
written in Russia will repeat itself. Communists will in 
time apply their principles if we decline to apply ours. If 
we refuse to give justice they will take by violence ; if we 
refuse to share in love, they will destroy in hate. It may 
be a race between education and catastrophe, between 
quickened evolution and destructive revolution, between 
frankly declared principles applied in a program of action 
or the fate of Bourbons, Hohenzollerns, Romanoffs and 
profiteers the world over. 

3. Intolerant Persecution. 

Communism is a dogma. It seems to hold inevitably an 
element of bigotry, of intolerance, and of fanaticism implicit 
in it. It does not seem to spring primarily from the dis- 
covery of some great, positive truth which makes its way 
by its own irresistible appeal and can freely win the consent 
of majorities. Rather it originated from a counsel of de- 
spair, a negative conclusion that truth cannot win its way by 
moral suasion alone, but that a "determined minority" who 
have accepted the dogma must seize power by force, must 
never relinquish it until their last enemy is extinguished, and 
must impose their dictatorship upon all others. We may grant 
the benevolent intentions of a Moslem, a fascist or a com- 
munist dictatorship and that there are some good results in 


each. But the question Is What price dictatorship? Is It 
necessarily at the cost of a harsh intolerance ? The dogma 
of communism is akin, not to the enlightenment of a Gau- 
tama, the good news of Christ, or the moral suasion of a 
Gandhi, but to the sword of Islam, which offers only the 
alternatives of submission, tribute or death. 

This intolerance springs necessarily from the negative phi- 
losophy of Marx himself. Marx, for all his giant intellect 
and indomitable spirit, was unable to grasp the full signifi- 
cance of our complex world. By an over-simplification, all 
history Is ultimately forced into the arbitrary channels of two 
classes and their inevitable conflict. The seven-fold rain- 
bow of reality is reduced to stark black and white, and men 
are divided into the two simple classes of robbers and robbed, 
exploiters and exploited. Allowing only for the element of 
time and development in the process of history, the multi- 
form possibilities of experimental solutions are impatiently 
swept away and one panacea is substituted which is to have 
universal significance, whether finally In Thibet or immedi- 
ately in Great Britain. They teach that all any country 
needs ultimately is a proletarian revolution. All history is 
based on a single materialist foundation ; all economics on a 
simple theory of labor and surplus value, all strategy is re- 
duced to the class war, and all liberty narrowed to a dictator- 
ship. The panacea is simplicity itself. Marx, Lenin and 
Stalin are all examples of the incarnation of this dogma, 
and of the price that has to be paid for it* 

We do not deny that there is a certain element of the 
heroic in the old Jewish prophet championing the cause of 


the disinherited toilers of the world and hurling his invec- 
tives against a whole capitalist world of oppressors ; nor in 
Lenin with his back to the wall and his life in his hand facing 
the hungry mob on the gun carriage in Petrograd, demand- 
ing a people's revolution; nor in Stalin and a handful of 
leaders striving to build a workers' republic with a whole 
world against them. There is an element of heroism but 
also of harshness, of strength coupled with intolerance, of 
courage manifested in fanatical bigotry, in each of the three 
men and in their resultant system of society. 

Marx felt, as had the prophets of his race before him, a 
deep identification with the economic needs of humanity 
about him. Here he was a prophet of judgment. But 
there were whole areas of experience to which he was 
stranger. Religion, for instance, he could never understand 
nor appreciate. His life, heroic as it was in many respects, 
was lived too largely in the abstractions of the library of the 
British Museum. He was an isolated stranger largely out 
of touch even with the British working men about him. His 
view of human nature is abstract and over-simplified, his 
interpretation of history, after its preliminary stages have 
been fulfilled according to a simple pattern, is as we have 
seen, artificially narrowed to a single class conflict and a 
single panacea, which is to be imposed upon the world by 
blood and iron. Doubtless a "Christian" Chancellor and 
Hohenzollern monarch drove him as a hunted exile to the 
conclusion that state and church were both necessary enemies 
of the people, and that they must be ruthlessly destroyed be- 
fore a workers' government could build upon their ashes. 


But natural and explicable as his negative conclusion was, 
Marx was unable to grasp the complex reality of the concrete 
world, and, in consequence, communism fails to this day 
to grasp it. A narrow dogmatism is the result. The over- 
tones and softer shades of life are lost in Soviet Russia. 
A thousand values are swept away with a contemptuous ges- 
ture as "bourgeois prejudice. " Just as the leader of the 
Huns could sack Rome and the stern conqueror of Islam 
could watch the burning treasures of the library at Alex- 
andria, both unmoved because to their simplified dogma other 
values were meaningless, so they are today before the hard 
and narrow materialistic dogma of Marxism. 1 

Mgscow hates the word religion like a bad dream and may 
seek in the end to destroy what seems to them only a reac- 
tionary superstition from life. It adopts a materialistic 
religion of industrialization and makes the machine its god. 
Any dogmatic religion in its early stages asks no questions 
and allows none. It preaches a crusade. It tolerates no 
rivals nor enemies. It may build perhaps a robot world. 
Time only can tell. That in itself would not be so intoler- 
able if its harsh dogma would permit others to build their 
individual or social life according to their own patterns and 
values. But there are no other values save their own that 
such a dictatorship of a single dogma can see or admit. And 

1 As John Dewey says: "Marx had no conception, moreover, of the 
capacity of expanding Industry to develop new inventions so as to develop 
new wants, new forms of wealth, new occupations ; nor did he imagine 
that the intellectual ability of the employing class would be equal to 
seeing the need for sustaining consuming power by high wages in order 
to keep tip production and its profits." Individualism Old and New, p. 103. 


this means tragedy for all who differ, who are conceived as 
enemies, imprisoned within the iron bars of a dictatorship 
which permits no escape. And it is tragedy for a divided 
world, separated not only geographically between two con- 
flicting social orders, but often between members of the 
same family, who speak two different languages and live in 
two worlds, the poles apart, divided between those who do 
and those who do not submit to the Islam of the Marxian 

f 4 The harsh dogmatism of communism shows itself in their 
intolerant propaganda against all whom they regard as their 
class enemies, whether within or without Russia. Breaking 
up meetings seems to be a favorite indoor sport. Boring 
from within and wrecking if they cannot capture trade unions 
seems to be an established policy. The creation of class 
hatred is a major endeavor. They seem particularity bitter 
against liberals, radicals or socialists who differ from them, 
such as Ramsay MacDonald or Norman Thomas. 

As typical of their line of attack we give a single illustra- 
tion. In the recent troubles in our Southern textile mills 
the American Civil Liberties Union generously furnished 
bail of $30,000 for a group of persecuted communist work- 
ers. These men "jumped" their bail and left for Moscow, 
where they remained with the approval of the Party. This 
act came close to closing the door for bail in future cases of 
a similar sort. Judges now have an excuse for fixing very 
high bail, and even sympathetic friends will be afraid to risk 
the amount involved. Hence the Civil Liberties Union felt 
obliged to refrain from trying to raise bail in similar cases 


In the future. Without the slightest evidence of gratitude 
or acknowledgment of help given, the following commun- 
ist press release thus bitterly assails thbse who had sought 
to defend them, attacking them with seemingly malicious 
falsehood, for not one of the five sentences of the indict- 
ment is true: "Norman Thomas, the social fascist candi- 
date of the Socialist Party, who was present in the chambers 
when the massacre took place, (reference is to police brutality 
to the leader of a Communist Delegation to the Board of 
Estimate) smiled charmingly in true ministerial fashion. 1 
Only last week Thomas led the attack within the executive 
committee of the American Civil Liberties Union against 
imprisoned and tortured workers by refusing them bail and 
attacking the International Labor Defense in its defense of 
militant jailed workers in the present economic crisis. The 
answer to the cry for bread is billies. On this, the Republi- 
can, Socialist, and Democratic Parties are one. The Rev. 
Norman Thomas and Mayor Walker are the direct repre- 
sentatives of capitalist America against the bitter struggle 
for work or wages." 2 

Such propaganda may appeal to ignorant workers un- 

x Sam Nessin, leader of the communist delegation, continued a protest 
to the point of breaking up the meeting. He was ordered out of the 
room by the Mayor who, however, indulged in cheap talk about fighting 
him if he (the Mayor) were not presiding at the meeting. This probably 
encouraged the police, who needed no encouragement, to beat up Nessin 
very badly, not in the Hall of the Board of Estimate, but downstairs. 
Norman Thomas was present at the meeting, he did not smile, and as 
soon as he knew of the beating, which was only after it occurred, he 
protested most vigorously. 

* Quoted in The World Tomorrow, November, 1930. 


acquainted with the facts in a country where the whole press 
is completely controlled as in Russia, but it will never com- 
mend itself or appeal to the intelligence of free men in a 
country where the press is not gagged. It is to be hoped 
that t}ie day will come when the communists themselves will 
s^e that such propaganda is shortsighted and self-defeating. 
It is as filthy as it is false. But, unfortunately, it is all too 
typical of the communist press today in Russia, in the 
United States and in other lands. It illustrates the harsh 
dogmatism of communism. 

The intolerant dogmatism of the communist position mani- 
fests itself in almost every area and relationship of life. It 
has a different conception of the value of human life, of the 
worth of personality or the rights of the individual. While 
the writer was in Moscow recently a number of men were 
shot for hoarding silver change, to the value of twenty-five 
dollars or more. It is true that this had become a menace 
to their currency system and to social welfare. In speaking 
of this to a communist professor he replied in substance: 
"Did we shoot them? Of course, why not? There were 
four mentioned today you say? I am only surprised that 
there were so few. Would you think that the report of four 
killed in a battle in your World War would be surprising? 
You do not realize that we are now at war. We shall kill 
all that we must to win this war." This man was a pro- 
fessor, a man of learning. On his shelves were many re- 
ligious books as he was an expert on the history of religions. 
He was inflexibly honest, self-sacrificing, loyal to humanity 
in the mass, if they belonged to the proletarian class. Yet 


he thought no more of shooting four men or forty-eight men 
later in the "food plot/' than he would of killing that many 
cockroaches on his floor. Of course he would not like to 
do either, for he is a gentleman and a scholar, and killing 
cockroaches or men would be unesthetic and unpleasant, at 
best a regrettable necessity. 1 Unfortunately, we cannot ap- 
peal to a visitant fron). Mars to judge between these two 
views of life. But to members of the western world of lib- 
eralism, the manifold results of such an intolerant dogma- 
tism are appalling. They are devastating alike to living a 
free, or complex, or abundant life with any deviation from 
orthodoxy within the confines of the dictatorship, save on 
its prescribed terms, or to understanding or cooperation with 
the world outside. 

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the sphere of re- 
ligion. To this dogmatism, religion is superstition, religion 
is opium, religion is poison. Marx and Lenin both declared 
it to be so. Therefore the case is closed. We are told re- 
peatedly by educated men in Russia that "every true scientist 
is an atheist." If there is any question about it, a quotation 
from Marx or Lenin will settle it. It is vain to say we 
believe in science and evolution as much as they, that so 
many of the great scientists from Kepler and Newton to our 
own day were believers. It is useless to point out that Dar- 
win, according to his own autobiography, was a reverent 
agnostic. All that is meaningless and valueless. Under 

1 The writer believes he is not doing this man an injustice for he is 
sending 1 this manuscript, including this section of it, for his correction 
and criticism. 


such an artificially simplified dogma the individual is black 
or white, theist or atheist, capitalist or communist, comrade 
or enemy. Within the dictatorship it must be submission 
or spiritual death. 

The communist does not see that though he repudiates 
the word religion, he has himself set up a new fanatical re- 
ligion of atheistic humanism. Professor Ross speaks of 
"the terrible single-mindedness of the fanatic." It makes a 
difference whether this" is an academic phrase written at safe 
distance, or a solid fact within the confines of the terror. 
There is a certain undeniable gain in simplicity, in the 
strength of dogmatism, in the enthusiasm of an unthinking 
crusade. But there is also appalling loss. The flaming 
theism of Islam and atheism of communism present a strange 
parallel. Either may conquer us with force, but they will 
not win our consent until they can appeal to reason. And it 
is difficult to see how either can do that without such radical 
alteration that they would lose not only their force, but their 
distinctive identity. 

It is to be regretted that our very difference of vocabulary 
leads to conflict and misunderstanding. The communist 
loathes "religion." But what is religion? Suppose that, 
reduced to its simplest terms it were conceived as the effort 
to bring the whole life into the light of the best that we 
know, and then to live our life in loyalty to that best 
Suppose that, with Reinhold Niebuhr, we think of religion 
at a minimum as faith In something that reason cannot 
justify, and at the maximum as the belief that the universe 
backs that faith. Although of course such terminology 


would satisfy neither the fundamentalist thelst nor atheist, 
yet upon any stich broad definition, Southern Buddhism, 
though atheistic, is a religion, and communism is likewise a 
fanatical, materialist, atheistic religion. Large numbers of 
independent observers have been impressed with this fact. 

But let us pass from definition to life. Whenever man 
has been left free as he passes from the primitive to the 
higher reaches of civilization, he always responds to his 
environment in at least three ways in science, in art, in 
religion. In science he seeks to master and control his en- 
vironment and improve his life ; in art to beautify, to har- 
monize and enrich it; in religion to integrate, to unify, to 
relate his life to its spiritual source within and to its ends 
without. From Plato, from Hegel, the teacher of Marx, 
to Woodrow Wilson, men have pointed out the values in 
religion, both individual and social, as a great architectonic 
force in life. Multitudes of men have experienced these 
values and would die for them. All would admit the carica- 
tures, the perversions, the miscarriages that history records 
in religion as well as in science, in art, in politics and every 
other field of life. But what is the remedy? Communism 
says there is only one. Destroy and rebuild according to 
the dogma and the dictatorship of a proletarian state. 

It is one thing for Marx to propose this on paper. It 
is quite another to embody this in flesh and blood. When 
the writer was telling the Russian emigres in Paris of the 
possibilities of a great world's laboratory of social experi- 
ment, one of them replied in substance: "A laboratory is 
a fine thing in theory. But suppose your own family and 


your own relatives are in the crucible. Suppose that fifty 
of your relatives and friends were shot by the Cheka or per- 
ished in the revolution, the terror and the civil war that fol- 
lowed. Suppose that many of your friends were now in 
poverty, not allowed to leave the country, hounded with 
spies, some of them in exile for their religion, do you think 
you would be so enthusiastic about this laboratory?" 

And here is our final indictment of the system. As we 
have seen, they tolerate religion to the extent of still per- 
mitting worship in the majority of the churches. But many 
are in exile, some are persecuted for their religion, and the 
leaders frankly state that they intend to do all in their 
power finally "to liquidate this superstition/' to extirpate 
this poisonous growth from the human heart. And here, in 
sympathy at least, we are all in their crucible. Our civil 
liberties, our religious freedom, our tolerance, our liberal- 
ism, our whole complex of priceless values, which the coarse 
thumb and finger of a materialistic dogmatism fail to feel 
nearly all we most value in life is at stake. 

Communists will claim that they are not persecuting re- 
ligion, as did the high official previously referred to. But 
we would reply as we did to him that they certainly are do- 
ing so. The writer could name whole sectarian denomina- 
tions that have suffered severely and are still suffering from 

The writer will confine himself to a single illustration. 
There is a certain body in Russia held in high regard 
throughout the world, though they are now isolated and, 
without foreign connections, who neither ask nor receive help 


from abroad. A number of them had their own communal 
farms, happily and successfully, long before the October 
Revolution. But although enonomically collectivized, their 
land was taken from them and given to others. Cut off 
from their natural means of livelihood and the free ex- 
pression of their religious views, they asked to be allowed 
to leave the country. They authorized the writer to ask the 
proper authority if they might be permitted to emigrate to 
Canada, there to establish their own collective or communal 
farms, going out empty handed save for their few personal 
effects, and taking not a cent of money with them. This 
was absolutely refused. It will be remembered how the 
Germans in 1929, once prosperous, but with most of their 
property expropriated and persecuted for their religion, left 
in desperation, after President Hindenburg and others had 
generously subscribed to relieve their distress. The indig- 
nant Swedes left likewise. But others are no longer allowed 
to leave. Not only have they been refused permission to 
leave but some of them today are on the terrible Solovyetzky 
Island. They desire no publicity. No people on earth are 
more ready bravely and silently to suffer. In other lands, 
a place where one is forcibly detained is called a prison. 
Russia is just that for a multitude today, however much they 
are in the minority. We repeat that the whole system for 
the long-oppressed proletarian majority has economically 
meant release, creative expression, substantial betterment. 
But for some millions of the minority, it is a prison house 
from which there is no escape. (Such a thing, after the 
revelations of George Kennan and others concerning the 


Siberian exiles of the Czar, we called damnable. And, call- 
ing a spade a spade, such a thing we call damnablf today. 

That which is a terror to such a large minority in Russia 

today is odious to the whole world. 

This then is our threefold indictment of the Soviet sys- 
tem : a dictatorship that extends to almost all of life, and 
that takes the form sometimes of tyranny and sometimes 
of terror; the policy of world revolution by violence as the 
only panacea of social deliverance; and the intolerance, big- 
otry and persecution which spring from the Marxian dogma 
of communism. 



Let us pass from the duty of negative criticism to the 
more constructive task of appreciation. We must not let 
the evils of the system blind us to its values nor prejudice 
us against its merits. For, like capitalist countries, Russia 
is a vast complex, a mixture of good and evil. In the 
opinion of the writer, the Russian Revolution is like the 
French Revolution writ large and extended to the whole 
of life. Greater evil will probably result from it than from 
the Revolution in France, as has already been the case, for 
instance, in China. But far greater good also, in our judg- 
ment, may eventuate from it than even from the liberty, 
equality and fraternity of Republican France. 

If, in spite of all these evils as they appear to us, with 
almost the whole world against them, and compelled to ask 
their followers for such constant privation and sacrifice, there 
is not only such persistence and power of survival in the 
system, but such enthusiasm for it on the part of so many 
within and without Russia, it must be because it stands 
for something of permanent worth. "The French Revolu- 
tion lit flames in the hearts of mankind which, because it 
responded to something fundamental in human nature neither 
its errors nor its crimes could quench/' And this is even 
more true of the Russian Revolution. Throughout the 



whole world and the whole of human history, men have pre- 
vailingly seen the scales of injustice tipped against the 
masses in favor of the classes. Here at last is a promise 
of redress for the majority. Here is something that is their 
own. It was conceived and constructed for them, and in 
their opinion it is a system of and by and for the workers. 
The positive affirmations of communism may prove to be 
more essential than its denials; the ends it seeks more im- 
portant than the methods by which it seeks them. There 
is always a certain splendor in the stern renunciation and 
heroic appeal of a great crusade, especially if its goal is not 
the possession of an empty tomb but of a living humanity. 
Garibaldi's offer of cold and hunger and rags has always 
been irresistible if made by trusted leaders for a worthy 
goal. "Communism has made its way by its idealism and 
not its realism, by its spiritual promise, not its materialistic 
prospect. It is a creed in which there is intellectual error, 
moral blindness, social perversity. Religions make their 
way despite these things." x What power must lie, for in- 
stance, in a system that could survive the corruptions of a 
Constantine, the butchery of crusades, the cruelty of inquisi- 
tions, the opposition to science, the suppression of social 
reform, and prostitution to autocratic states as in Czarist 
Russia that have characterized Christianity at its worst! 
What good must lie in the heart of an iconoclasm that 
could yet bless the world after its regicide, its guillotine and 
its red terror, as in France ! The same is true in Russia. 

1 Communism, by H. J. Laski, p. 250. 


Space will only permjt the discussion of three possible 
values in the Russian system. 

1. The Passion for Social Justice 

There is a willingness on the part of the leaders to live 
the simple life of sacrificial sharing, with the consequent 
enthusiasm of large numbers of the working masses for the 
whole system and its arduous programs. It is a familiar 
spectacle to see a party in power lining its own nest and 
weakened by selfish corruption and luxury. The fallen em- 
pires rotted from the top; their leaders betrayed their people. 
Here, for almost the first time in history upon such a scale, 
we have the leaders of a whole nation, and that the largest 
in the world, sharing wellnigh all that they have with the 
people. ~r All of property, of profit, of income; all of culture, 
of music, of art; all of leisure, of recreation, of enjoyment 
all that they have, save power perhaps, is shared. Instead 
of asking special privileges, they impose upon themselves 
unusual sacrifices. Instead of demanding special leniency 
they demand the heaviest penalties upon Party members; 
Unlike the political boss or party politician, instead of the 
lion's share of the material spoils, they prescribe a "p ar ty 
maximum" of 225 roubles a month or $3.75 a day. 1 A few 
are allowed certain royalties on their writings, for instance, 
but have to return one-quarter or more of such meager al- 
lowances to the general funds. They must respond to end- 
less subscriptions, demands and appeals for fellow sufferers 

1 In Moscow the party maximum is 300 roubles a month or about $5.00 
a day. In less expensive centers it is lower. 


or comrades all over the world. The whole scheme involves 
incessant communal sharing. 

They must not only work unsparingly at their daily task, 
but give evenings and long hours of unrequited service to 
countless committees, meetings and organizations. They 
must face the frequent Party "cleansing" to give an account 
of their stewardship and prove their constant and loyal alle- 
giance. In the factories non-Party workers are asked to 
testify against any members of the Party who have been 
merely looking out for their own interests and not serving 
all the workers. We can hardly imagine such a purge of 
political parties and politicians in the West. 

The higher officials have, of course, their apartments pro- 
vided, though they are often limited in space. Automobiles 
are furnished for their professional service, though not for 
"joy riding/' But the sons of the poor peasants and work- 
ers are often admitted to the universities and to other privi- 
leges before those of Party members and officials. 

Even the President, Kalinin, must live the simple life in 
his flannel shirt. Stories of luxury and extravagance on 
the part of the leaders are for the most part grossly false. 
Officials engaging in "revelry" and graft such as that of the 
Ohio gang during President Harding's administration, 
would, after a fair public trial, be publicly shot. Probably 
no officials or political leaders in the world, apart from 
Gandhi and his followers, so uniformly live the strenuous 
and simple life of self-denial^* When one contrasts a system 
of liberalism which produces its capitalist type blind to pov- 
erty and human need, Its gang warfare, bootlegging, law- 


lessness, graft, corruption, greed and social Injustice, one 
needs must pause before casting the first stone at the un- 
doubted evils of communism. If we are told that it is 
really not a workers' state but only the rule of a small 
oligarchy, we are reminded of former Ambassador Girard's 
original list of the fifty-eight men who are said to rule 
America. They are practically all men of great wealth. 
That is the source of their power. We are told that they 
have not time to accept office themselves but that they de- 
termine who shall do so. 

Whatever its evils, the system of Russia as a whole gets 
beyond the motive of private greed and the rule of wealth. 
It stands for communal sharing. No Christian could ob- 
ject to this in principle, as in the voluntary sharing of the 
early church that held "all things common." 1 

The communists do not stand for an academic, rigid 
equality, but for general sharing. They recognize that there 
are differences of talents and of service. But on the whole 
they more nearly approximate equality than any large polit- 
ical body in history. Lenin, working sixteen hours a day, 
lived in a small and relatively bare room, with workingman's 
food and clothing, upon two or three dollars a day. The 
technician or engineer who is subordinate to the Party mem- 
ber in a factory may be receiving several hundred dollars a 
month, while the communist over him may receive less than 
half as much. 

This passion for justice, this almost puritan simplicity 

*Acts 2:44, 4:32-35. 


and at times asceticism, this demand for sharing and essential 
equality is not only practiced by the leaders, but to a large 
extent permeates the workers and is passed on with even 
increased intensity to the youth organizations. It Is re- 
markable how, more than thirteen years after the revolution, 
they are able not only to perpetuate but at times even to in- 
crease this spirit. Other movements have lost their primi- 
tive simplicity and have grown rich and soft, but the central 
principle of this system, its passion for social justice, makes 
the individual profiteer a public disgrace and a scandal. He 
becomes a moral leper. The goal of ambition always placed 
before youth is not only social service, but a militant crusade 
which shall make this system triumphant in a world of 
greed. Every loyal youth is knit in sympathy and endeavor 
into the cause of the liberation of the workers of the world. 
In what other system are children in common schools taught 
to adjust their daily habits and their life's ambition to the 
neediest class of a common humanity throughout the entire 
world ? Even Gautama's renunciation never made such im- 
perative demands upon the common man. Garibaldi's privi- 
leged "thousand" is multipled to the million, with both a 
personal and a mass appeal that is terrific, not to free one's 
country from a foreign invader, but to save a whole world 
from its oppressors. 

For the most part the leaders under the soviet system are 
honest, hard-working, self-denying and able men. How- 
ever he may differ from them in principle, no one can read 
impartially the life of Marx, of Lenin or of Stalin, without 
admitting their courage and sacrifice. The same is true of 


most of the high officials in Russia today. Typical of the 
small group of the old nobility who have entered the Party 
and the Government, is a former prince. In our inter- 
view with him we fund him equally ready to converse 
with us in Russian, German, French, Italian or English. On 
the whole, we chose English ! His family is older than that 
of the Romanov Czars. The wide acres of his family's for- 
mer vast estates, which are now occupied by successful peas- 
ants' collectives, were suggestive of the change in his own 

As a member of the old regime of special privilege now 
serving efficiently and whole-heartedly in a workers' re- 
public, we asked him among others two questions : "How 
can you, with your past special privileges be content to 
work for the party maximum of two hundred and twenty- 
five roubles a month, or $3.75 a day, which is less than an 
unskilled worker would get in the Ford Motor Works? 
And how can you, as a gentleman, a man apparently of 
humane consideration for your fellow-men, support a policy 
of world revolution ? To* put it bluntly, why do you com- 
munists want to kill people?" 

His answer was substantially as follows : "You ask why 
I should be content with such a meagre income? But why 
should I not be ? All my wants are provided for. I have 
three ample meals a day. More would make me ill. I 
can wear but one suit of clothes at a time. I have an 
excellent roof over my head and no discomforts of which 
to complain. But suppose I had. What satisfaction can 
the amassing of money or mere private profit give? Why 


should such a cheap and ignoble pursuit even interest us? 
We are building not only a new Russia, in contrast to the 
old order, but a new world. We seek a world of justice 
for the workers and the release of their creative energies. 
Is that not a worthier goal, a more thrilling adventure, a 
deeper satisfaction? Certainly it is for me. 

"But you ask : Why do we want to kill people ? Do you 
really mean that such is your conception of our system ? I 
am sorry that there were some people killed in our Revo- 
lution. They were relatively few for it was almost a 
bloodless conflict until the outbreak of counter-revolution, 
the sabotage of the old classes of privilege, Allied interven- 
tion and the invasion of our country. If I remember 
rightly, there were some people killed in your own Ameri- 
can Revolution which lasted for seven years after 1776. 
I am sorry, but people have a way of being killed in revo- 
lutions. I suppose it is a necessary evil. 

"The skilful surgeon who performs a dangerous operation 
at the risk of life and often with the certainty of giving 
pain, does not do this because he wants 'to kill people' or 
to cause suffering. He is trying to save life and he knows 
of no other way, in the last resort, than a dangerous and 
painful surgical operation. So it is with revolution. We 
know of no other way, for all other ways have failed. They 
failed in Russia after four hundred years of Czarism. They 
are failing still in the continued social injustice after all 
these centuries in your capitalistic countries. 

"And you seriously think that we want to kill people? 
Frankly, we thought that you were the killers. Take your 


recurring capitalist and imperialist wars; your world war, 
your pestilential slums. Do you know the death rate in the 
slums of your own city of New York? I was in America 
investigating, I have written a book upon it. Think of 
the more than six hundred thousand darkened tenement 
rooms of your city, where your slums continue, generation 
after generation, in tenements, many of them long ago 
condemned as unfit for human habitation. And yet you 
go on profiteering out of them just as we did in Czarist 
Russia. And you will never destroy them. You will never 
give them justice any more than we did in old Russia. 
How many little children are you killing, with your high 
death rate in your slums, decade after decade? 

"And, take again your World War. How many did you 
kill? Was it ten million young men at the front? Did 
not Russia alone lose more than three millions ? And how 
about the non-combatants? Add the women and children, 
and all told was it not twenty-six millions that was your 
death roll? Compare with that the handful killed in our 
Revolution during a few days of street fighting, until the 
capitalist world and the imperialist nations invaded our 
country to back up the forces of the reactionary Czarist 
regime that were against a workers' republic. In the light 
of all these facts, can you seriously talk of our wanting to 
kill people? No, we believe that a swift surgical operation, 
even though necessarily at the risk of some loss of life and 
of pain, will actually save life, compared to the continuing 
slums with their high death rate, the widespread unemploy- 
ment, the inevitable and recurring wars of competitive capi- 


talism and conquering imperialism. In the light of all the 
facts I would ask, who are the killers, you or we ? Neither 
of us want to kill people. But, I repeat, who is doing so 
to-day, you or we?" 

2. A Classless Society 

A second value in the system would seem to be the prin- 
ciple of relative equality, the measurable advance toward 
the goal of a classless society, with the absence of racial and 
color prejudice. 

Always excepting their class enemies, the principle of 
human equality runs through the whole system. It seems 
to make no difference whether a man is white or black, 
yellow or brown; whether a worker is a man or a woman. 
There must be equal pay for equal work. All offices must 
be open to all. All laws, all privileges must be equal. In 
no country in the world do women occupy so many posi- 
tions of importance. With pogroms long fomented by 
Czarist police, or state, or church, prejudice against the Jew 
still lingers in some quarters. But the principle of the 
system, the laws of the state, the practices and propaganda 
of the Communist Party are doing all that can be done 
to lessen and finally eliminate this evil. Jews never had a 
monopoly of power in the soviet system as reported by 
foreign propaganda. No full member of the Inner Politi- 
cal Bureau is at present a Jew. Yet there is probably no 
country where Jewish citizens of real ability are allowed 
without prejudice to occupy so many positions of impor- 


In a world among whose major problems race prejudice 
bulks so large, it may make a real contribution to find one 
system which so transcends this prejudice. In the world 
today probably four peoples suffer most from this disease 
of race and color prejudice, the Americans, the British, the 
Germans and the high caste people of India in their atti- 
tude toward and treatment of the "untouchable" outcaste. 
No people has achieved a greater racial equality than the 
Russians and no system better promotes it than theirs. 
With nearly two hundred different nationalities, their treat- 
ment of their minorities and their granting of political, 
cultural and educational autonomy to each little "republic/' 
has been as remarkable as was their persecution under the 
previous Czarist regime. 

The soviet system precludes a foreign imperialism that 
would conquer nations from without by military conquest 
and rule peoples against their will as in India, the Phil- 
ippines, or Korea. Doubtless they would not consistently 
fulfill their promise of permitting voluntary withdrawal 
from the U. S. S. R. union, but would try at all costs to 
hold a republic like Georgia within the federation, as the 
United States did the seceding South. They will as 
frankly encourage and aid national revolutions everywhere 
as did France in the American Colonies in 1776. But their 
treatment of oriental or African races upon a basis of abso- 
lute equality is in striking contrast to some Christian na- 
tions. The Tartar or the Slav can be cruel, but lynching 
as a manifestation of racial prejudice would be unthinkable 
under their system. To make radically different educa- 


tional appropriations for white and black children, as in so 
many North American states, to permit legal or economic 
injustice on racial grounds, to deny the ballot to men be- 
cause of their color would never be tolerated under a sys- 
tem where the term "comrade" covers a more real equality 
than does the term "brotherhood" in Anglo-Saxon coun- 
tries. It does not take much imagination to see how this 
principle of equality may in time appeal to every race, or 
colony, or possession that feels itself conquered or op- 
pressed. Perhaps the searchlight of such a disquietingly 
challenging system may well be turned upon the evils, the 
inconsistencies and the hypocrisies of older and more com- 
placent systems, if the idealism of their own religion and 
democracy fails to move them. We are not done with Rus- 
sia yet. No exclusion or blockade, no refusal of recogni- 
tion, no false propaganda against them can prevent this 
searchlight being turned full upon the glaring social evils 
of our own system, or upon theirs. 

3. A World Laboratory of Social Experiment 

By a system of trial and error, under a relentless realism, 
vast experiments may be tried in Russia that may prove of 
great significance for the world. Some other systems are 
set like cement in changeless forms. They are ossified, 
petrified, stiff with conservatism. White-hot, the molten 
metal of this new order seems to run swiftly into fresh 
molds and lend itself to new forms. There is an openness, 
an experimental daring, an elasticity and freedom, save 
where these are precluded by their economic dogma. 


It is probable that some of their experiments will fail 
and some will succeed, but both may be useful. For illus- 
tration, the communists tried workmen's control of factories 
in a sudden and almost complete industrial democracy. Its 
failure was as consistent as it was complete. They learned 
their lesson. Never again must labor be allowed a monop- 
oly of power, and never again on the other hand must it 
be subjected to an external monopoly of autocratic control. 
They quickly learned in a costly experiment, which other 
countries were not free to try, that both were disastrous. 

Russia is bold in these experiments. Her whole life is 
in the melting pot. All precedents, all propriety, all prej- 
udice; all laws, all customs, all methods anything and 
everything must be scrapped if they can discover a better 
way. Perhaps most of the discoveries of the race have 
been made in the laboratory of the scientist or in the larger 
school of life and practical experience. Russia values both, 
but especially the second. No other system ever so staked 
its very existence upon faith in the common man. 

From among many in various fields we may recall sev- 
eral experiments which have already been mentioned that 
are of great possible significance for Russia herself and 
for the world, such as the five year plan, collective farming 
and socialization of all of life. 

The five year plan, as we have observed, is probably the 
boldest economic experiment in the world today. If, out of 
chaos, anarchy and ruin, without foreign loans, and in the 
face of a world economic depression and of world opposi- 
tion a backward and poor people can increase their produc- 


tion in agriculture over 50 per cent, in light industry 200 
per cent, in heavy industry 300 per cent, and in electric 
power some 400 per cent, what may they not accomplish? 
Some countries face a "labor problem" of strikes and the 
obstruction of organized labor in conflict with the inter- 
ests of those who own and profit by the means of production. 
What may not be possible if this vast body of opposing 
wage earners become themselves the owners, the inventors, 
the enthusiastic initiators of a great common advance of 
industry for what they conceive to be the emancipation of 
the workers of the world? A united cooperative crusade 
may accomplish what the conflicts and competition of class 
strife cannot A five year period will obviously be only 
the first milestone of a long-distance race between the two 
systems and principles. Not the dogmatic propaganda of 
the printing press but the solid results of the industrial 
laboratory must decide between the two. 

Collective agricidtwe, cooperative and industrialized 
farming is another major experiment in this world labora- 
tory. From ancient times the farmer, though the basic 
producer, has been a problem. The pagan of the field, the 
heathen of the heath, the peasant in his distant isolation, 
the individualistic farmer none of these have yielded to 
the more rapid civilization and socialization of urban life. 
To no system was the individualistic peasant a greater 
menace than in Russia. None blocked the social advance 
more than the closed individual "fist" of the kulak pro- 
fiteer. Yet suddenly, within five years this basis of loose 
sand is being united into what may prove to be the rein- 


forced concrete of a bed-rock foundation for the whole 
social system. 

Outside of India and China, which are relatively static 
and paralyzed by caste or custom of religious and social 
systems, here is the largest rural population in the world. 
One new tractor or combine may perform the work of 
more than fifty men with the medieval plow, hand sickle 
and flail Within a decade or two, at the present rate, 
Russia may be the largest producer of grain, and perhaps 
of tractors, in the world. And she is socializing as rapidly 
as she is industrializing her agriculture. Little Denmark 
has shown the possibilities during recent years of coopera- 
tion in a tiny country. What may not giant Russia do in 
the next two decades? And, quite apart from the theory of 
a particular academic system, and without any connection 
with communism, may there be possible lessons in this for 
America, Canada, Australia, India or China? Since the 
industrial revolution we have learned what competition may 
accomplish. Even Marx admits that it has been much. 
Quite apart from communism or any other system, is there 
need for all of these countries and the whole world to learn 
of the possibilities of cooperation? If so, Russia may prove 
the world's laboratory in cooperative and industrialized 

The socialization of all life may prove a major experiment 
in this great laboratory of life. From the beginnings of 
mutual aid in animal life, from the early groupings of men 
in family, tribe, city, state or nation, in ever-widening cir- 
cles of growing unity, men seem to be marching on, often 


unconsciously, in an "Open Conspiracy" toward an inte- 
grated, organized, cooperative world of peace and creative 
construction. And this, despite the backward eddies of 
conflict, war and strife.. v Almost every advance of modern 
civilization has been a social achievement. But who has 
discovered even the distant approaches to the possibilities 
of socialized government, industry or agriculture; of so- 
cialized education, culture, or art; of socialized medicine, 
law, recreation or human welfare? Must not all of life be 
both individualized and socialized, for the one and the 
many, for the potential personality and the great society? 
If so, may not the socialism of Russia and the individual 
liberalism of America both be vast laboratories of social 
experiment ? Is it possible that, overlooking the individual 
limitations of each, as a type Henry Ford and Karl Marx 
may both have a contribution to make to humanity? If so, 
why should we despise either, or look with dread upon any- 
thing merely because it is new? Has Mr. Ford alone, or 
his type, solved as yet the problems of unemployment, pov- 
erty, or slums ? If not, why not look to the human labora- 
tory for possible solutions both in individual and social life? 
It must be remembered that time is a factor in this long- 
distance race of the Russian experiment. A foreign press 
has been too obviously eager not only to exaggerate but to 
gloat over the misfortunes of Soviet Russia. It is unfair 
to compare the United States, with the full development of 
her vast resources a century and a half after her Revolu- 
tion, with Russia, less than a decade out of almost chaos 
and poverty. Russia must be given time. The French 


Revolution of 1789 could destroy the rotten Bourbon gov- 
ernment, but it was long replaced by the guillotine and 
anarchy, the despotism of Napoleon, and the return of the 
Bourbons in counter-revolution. Not until 1870, eighty 
years after the Revolution, was a really permanent demo- 
cratic republic established. The long hostility of monar- 
chist Europe to revolutionary France finds its parallel in 
the attitude toward Soviet Russia today. If there is any 
philosophy of history there should be lessons to learn from 
revolutionary France, remembering that the republics of 
the United States, France and Soviet Russia were all born 
of revolution. 

Emil Ludwig suggestively compares and contrasts the 
French and Russian Revolutions. 1 Both in 1789 and 1917 
masses were motivated by a burning passion for social jus- 
tice. In both the action was national but the idea was in- 
ternational, for the French Revolution was in intention a 
world revolution and ultimately affected the whole world. 
Almost all the civil liberties of Europe had their origin in 
that movement, while "similar indirect effects of the Rus- 
sian movement are making themselves felt/' The clericals 
and nobles who were in complete control of Bourbon France 
were estimated by Sieyes at 200,000. This was just the 
number of the landlords who owned over a quarter of the 
arable land in European Czarist Russia. King Louis and 
the neurotic Czar Nicholas, alike in their weakness, were 
both dethroned, imprisoned and put to death. The Reign 
of Terror under Danton and Robespierre lasted about two 

1 Nineteenth Century, October, 1930, p. 459. 


years. It became ever more radical and passed from the 
demand for political to economic equality : "There must be 
neither rich nor poor." The French revolutionary court 
was similar to the Cheka. Both countries had to contend 
with foreign intervention bent on overthrowing the revolu- 
tion. Lenin modified his program by the New Economic 
Policy in the sixth year, as the French Revolution did in 
the fifth year after the storming of the Bastile. But 
whereas in the twelfth year the extremes of the French 
Revolution had wellnigh "come to an end/' in the twelfth 
year Stalin had begun to intensify and reassert the full 
program of the Soviet Revolution. 

The atheistic movement in the French Revolution was at 
the beginning fiercer than the Russian. Both countries 
abolished the old calendar. Both made every fifth day a 
day of rest The French Convention violently attacked 
the idea of God and the Church. The beautiful Mme. 
Mamaros was installed in Notre Dame as the Goddess of 
Reason. Both movements exhibited caricatures and had 
processions of protest against the superstitions of religion 
and the corruptions of the Church. In the seventh year 
after the French Revolution God was again acknowledged; 
but it will probably be long before a more tolerant attitude 
to religion and a radical change of policy will prevail in 
Russia. However, if history repeats itself, tyranny has 
never been able indefinitely to maintain itself, and when- 
ever intolerance gives place to tolerance and control to free- 
dom, religion will no doubt reassert itself in Russia as it 
has in every other land. 



Based upon the evidence already presented of present 
conditions in Russia, and the foregoing appraisal both of 
the merits and demerits of the soviet regime, there would 
be an honest difference of opinion as to the attitude which 
the Government of the United States should take toward 
Russia, and the question of the recognition or non-recogni- 
tion of its government. In the light of this uncertainty we 
shall attempt to review the situation. 

The tradition of friendship between the United States 
and Czarist Russia was maintained in spite of the fact that 
Russia was the last of the great powers to recognize the 
young American Republic, just as a century and a half 
later the United States will probably prove to be the last 
government to recognize Soviet Russia. 1 The United 
States was the first formally to recognize the new Russian 
Republic under the provisional government and made them 
a large loan. President Wilson expressed his sympathy 
with "the great generous Russian people . . . fighting for 
freedom/' 2 In the sixth of his fourteen points he advo- 
cates for Russia "the independent determination of her own 

x In 1809 } 33 years after the Declaration of Independence, Russia recog- 
nized the United States and John Quincy Adams was sent as the first 
representative to St. Petersburg. See American Policy Toward Rvissia 
Since 1917, by Frederick Lewis Schuman, University of Chicago, Inter- 
national Publishers, p. 14. We are indebted to< this admirable volume in 
this section. 

a lbid, p. 34. 



political development/' adding, "the treatment accorded to 
Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be 
the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of 
her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of 
their intelligent and unselfish sympathy. " x 

In the period of divided authority between the waning 
influence of Kerensky and the growing power of the Soviets, 
Ambassador Francis consistently favored the former and 
opposed the soviet regime. Under his advice America 
began, as it were, "to put her money on the wrong horse," 
at least on the losing horse. Francis advised the execution 
of Lenin and Trotzky for treason, as paid German agents. 2 
Raymond Robins, on the other hand, who became head of 
the American Red Cross Mission, advocated cooperation 
with the growing Soviet power. On March 5, 1918, 
Trotzky made to him a memorable proposal that the Soviet 
Government would defeat the ratification of the Brest- 
Litovsk treaty and resume the war against the Central 
Powers if America and the Allies would aid Russia in her 
struggle against Germany. 3 The acceptance of that offer 
would have greatly changed the whole subsequent course of 
events. But when no reply came from Washington, Russia 
was forced to ratify the humiliating Brest-Litovsk treaty. 

1 Ibid, p. 71. Russian American Relations, p. 74. 

2 Ibid, p. 50. See David R. Francis, Russia from the American Em- 
bossy, pp. 2425. Kerensky fled in the car of the secretary of the Ameri- 
can Embassy. Francis refers to the new cabinet headed by Lenin as 
"disgusting." He addressed a message to- the people of Russia warning: 
them that "a desperate foe is sowing the seeds of dissension in 
midst" Ibid, pp. 55-59. 

8 Russian American Relations, pp. 81-82. 


Ambassador Francis advocated intervention against the 
Soviet Government. 1 Lenin entrusted to Robins an elabo- 
rate plan of Russian- American commercial relations, which 
on July 1, 1918, Robins presented to the State Department 
In Washington, pointing out the madness of forcible Allied 
military intervention against the will of the Russian people, 
but he was unable even to secure an interview with Presi- 
dent Wilson. The President was long opposed to armed 
intervention but finally yielded to Francis' fatal appeal for 
a policy which finally developed into armed intervention and 
a war to overthrow the Soviet Republic. 2 Russia was In- 
vaded, blockaded, and disrupted with subsidized civil war, 
American money and lives were sacrificed, and thousands 
suffered death in Russia, while at one time the Soviet Gov- 
ernment was fighting upon a dozen fronts. 

There was no formal declaration by either side but a 
war of almost unparalleled ferocity developed. White Rus- 
sians as well as Red inaugurated a reign of terror. Finally 
in disgust the Czechoslovaks, on whose behalf intervention 
had been undertaken, protested with the Americans against 
"criminal actions that will stagger the entire world; the 
burning of villages, the murder of masses of peaceful in- 

^Schuman, p. 89; Francis, pp. 297-301. 

2 President Wilson, dreading- intervention, probably felt that American 
participation rather than abstention would enable her to mitigate its evils 
and determine its purposes. The Allied force in the North about Arch- 
angel consisted of 6,000 British, 4,500 Americans, 1,500 Frenchmen, with 
contingents of White Russians and other nationalities. General Graves 
commanded the American Expeditionary Force of 7,000 in Siberia, which 
refrained from fighting as far as possible. Japan seized the opportunity 
to rush in 70,000 men. The Expedition cost the United States, $3,000,000, 
244 soldiers killed and 305 wounded. Schuman, p. 137. 


habitants, and the shooting of hundreds of persons of demo- 
cratic convictions." 1 Red terror and White seemed to- vie 
with the Allies who "felt obliged to arrest and execute sus- 
pects on a wholesale scale/' 2 Intervention, counter-revolu- 
tion and atrocities united the majority of the Russian people 
against the foreign invaders. The Red armies, victorious 
on all fronts, were finally able to drive out the last foreign 
invader and subdue the last of the White armies. 3 

More effective and more fatal than armed intervention 
was the American and Allied propaganda against Russia. 
Long silent about the White Terror, even the New York 
Times pictured Russia as a "Gigantic Bedlam," where 
"Maniacs Stalked Raving Through the Streets/' * Char- 
acteristic of the propaganda was the fabrication about the 
"nationalization of women" which was attributed to the 
Soviets based upon a false decree attributed to the local 
Association of Anarchists in Saratov on March 15, 1918. 5 
It had never been either proposed or practiced by the com- 

1 Czechoslovak Memorandum to Allied Representatives at Vladivostok, 
Nov. 15, 1919. Schuman, p. 118. 

3 Ibid, p. 138. 

8 Foreign Minister Chicherin addressed a note to President Wilson on 
October 24: "Mr. President, the 'acid test' of the relations between the 
United States and Russia gave quite different results from those that 
might have been expected from your message to Congress. But we have 
reason not to be altogether dissatisfied with even these results, since the 
outrages of the counter-revolution in the East and North have shown the 
workers and peasants of Russia the aims of the Russian counter-revolu- 
tion, and of its foreign supporters, thereby creating among the Russian 
people an iron will to defend their liberty and the conquests of the revo- 
lution/ 1 Ibid, p. 121. Russian American Relations, pp. 258-266. 

* March 11, 1919, 1:5. 

6 Schum<w f pp. 123, 153. See Congressional Record, Vol. 57, Part 5, 
pp. 4882-88; and 1388-1395; pp. 1970-74. 


munists. The State Department announced: "The rumor 
as to the nationalization of women is untrue." New Europe 
admitted its mistake with an apology for publishing the 
report. Yet even Current History still tried to maintain 
the story by descriptions of "eye witnesses." Such false 
propaganda widely circulated, and never to this day contra- 
dicted by much of the American press, has contrived to 
keep up a feeling of fear and hostility which cannot now 
easily be removed. Senator Borah and others long pro- 
tested in vain against intervention and later consistently 
advocated recognition of the Russian Republic. 1 

Herbert Hoover, as Director of the American Relief 
Administration, during the famine, conducted the humane 
and highly efficient relief of distress which was so grate- 
fully appreciated by the Russian people. 2 He favored the 
lifting of the blockade against Russia in order to reveal the 
complete "foolishness" of the soviet industrial system to the 
Russian people. 3 As Secretary of Commerce, he declared: 
"Under their economic system, no matter how much they 
moderate it in name, there can be no real return to produc- 
tion in Russia, and therefore Russia will have no consider- 

1 0n September 5, 1918, Senator Borah said: "While we are not at 
war with Russia, while Congress has not declared war, we are carrying 
on war with the Russian people. . . . Whatever is done in that country 
in the way of armed intervention is without constitutional authority . 
or plain usurpation of power to maintain troops in Russia at this time." 
378 Congressional Record, vol. 53, Part 5, pp. 4896-98. 

2 The A. R. A. had collected $66,300,000, shipped 912,121 tons of food, 
and with a staff of 200 Americans and 80,000 Russians had saved from 
death by starvation some ten million people. Schuman, p. 206, A, R. A. 
Annual Report, 1923, p. 12. 

8 Committee For the Regeneration of Russia, The Blockade of Soviet 
Russia, p. 26. 


able commodities to export, and consequently no great ability 
to obtain imports . . . That requires the abandonment of 
their present economic system/' * 

President Harding maintained the American policy of 
non-recognition, after other countries had recognized the 
Soviet Republic, upon the grounds of protest against "a 
policy of confiscation and repudiation." 2 

President Coolidge, however, in his first message to Con- 
gress, on December 6, 1923, suggested a possible change 
of policy and recognition based upon the three conditions 
of compensation for confiscation of the property of Ameri- 
can citizens, recognition of the American debt, and abate- 
ment of the spirit of enmity to our institutions. 3 Ten days 
later Foreign Minister Chicherin addressed a cablegram to 
President Coolidge informing him of the complete readi- 
ness of the Soviet Government "to discuss with your Gov- 
ernment all problems mentioned in your message, these 
negotiations being based upon the principle of mutual non- 
intervention in internal affairs." 4 

^Schuman, p. 201. New York Times, March 22, 1921, 1 :2. 

2 July 31, 1923, New Yvrk Times, August 1, 1923. This was in his last 
address, undelivered because of illness, at the full height of the activity 
of the "Ohio gang." 

3 President Coolidge said : "We have every desire to see that great 
people, who are our traditional friends, restored to their position among 
the nations of the earth. . . . Whenever there appears any disposition to 
compensate our citizens who were despoiled and to recognize that debts 
contracted with our government, not by the Czar, but by the newly 
formed Republic of Russia; whenever the active spirit of enmity to our 
institutions is abated ; whenever there appear works meet for repentance, 
our country ought to be the first to go to the economic and moral rescue 
of Russia." Congressional Record, Vol. 65, p. 451, Dec. 20, 1923. 

4 Chicherin cabled: "After reading your message to Congress, the 
Soviet Government, sincerely anxious to establish at last firm friendship 


Immediately, however, Secretary Hughes replied with a 
curt message declining all conference and negotiations and 
declaring that the American Government had incurred no 
liabilities to Russia. 1 By 1926 twenty-two states had 
recognized the Soviet Government, including Great Britain, 
France, Germany, Italy, Japan and all the principal nations 
except the United States, which still remained obdurate. 
Russia's war and pre-war debts totalled over six billion 
dollars. 2 Of this the debt to America, with interest, may 

1 Secretary Hughes thus replied to the Chicherin communication, on 
December 18, 1923: 

"There would seem to be at this time no reason for negotiations. The 
American Government ... is not proposing to barter away its principles. 

<e lf the Soviet authorities are ready to restore the confiscated property 
of American citizens or make effective compensation they can do so. 

"If the Soviet authorities are ready to repeal their decree repudiating 
Russia's obligations to this country and appropriately recognize them, 
they can do so. 

"It requires no conference or negotiations to accomplish these results, 
which can and should be achieved at Moscow as evidence of good faith. 

"The American Government has not incurred liabilities to Russia or 
repudiated obligations. 

"Most serious is the continued propaganda to overthrow the institu- 
tions of this country. This Government can enter into no negotiations 
until these efforts directed from Moscow are abandoned." Congressional 
Record, Vol. 65, p. 451, December 20, 1923. 

Of Russia's pre-war government debt France holds 80 per cent and 
Great Britain 14 per cent. The war debt is owed to Great Britain, 70 per 
cent, to France 19 per cent, and to the United States 7 per cent. Russia's 

with the people and Government of the United States, informs you of its 
complete readiness to discuss with your government all problems men- 
tioned in your message, these negotiations being based on the principle 
of mutual non-intervention in internal affairs. The Soviet Government 
will continue whole-heartedly to adhere to this principle, expecting the 
same attitude from the American Government. As to the question of 
claims mentioned in your message, the Soviet Government is fully pre- 
pared to negotiate with a view toward its satisfactory settlement on the 
assumption that the principle of reciprocity will be recognized all around/' 


be reckoned at about $276,500,000. The claims of Ameri- 
can citizens and private companies against Soviet Russia 
represent approximately $300,000,000. 1 

The Soviet Republic, like the revolutionary French Re- 
public before it, repudiated state debts of the old monarchy, 2 
and brought forward counter-claims of damages for the 
Allied intervention and blockade. It must be remembered 
that Allied intervention in Siberia was undertaken at the 
express invitation of the United States and that intervention 
is an illegal act, which in case of its failure, renders the 
state liable to claims for damages. 3 Intervention in Russia 
was continued for fifteen months after the armistice. Pro- 
fessor Schuman of the University of Chicago writes : "We 
thus reach the conclusion that Allied and American inter- 
vention in Russia cannot be justified under any of the 

1 Principal and Interest of Debt to U. S. Government 

(Moulton) $276,500,000 

Debts Privately held in U. S. A 86,000,000 

Confiscation and Destruction of Property of American 
Nationals 300,000,000 

Schuman, p. 301; Moulton, p. 181. 

a Decree of January 21 and February 8, 1918. Schuman, p. 73. 
8 Schuman, pp. 304-305. 

war debt to Great Britain is reckoned by Moulton at $2,687,000,000 ; to 
France $746,000,000, to the United States approximately $276,500,000. 
Chicherin at Geneva claimed some $6,106,580,000 for direct damages 
during the intervention and civil war. Russian Debts by Pasvolsky and 
Moulton, pp. 21, 22, 181. See American Policy Toward Russia, pp. 
298, 310. 


accepted principles of international law." 1 Certainly 
American forces in Murmansk, Archangel, and Siberia did 
damage to Russian property and were responsible for the 
loss of Russian lives. This intervention was not under- 
taken for national defence, and was without a declaration 
of war. Its illegality would probably be upheld in any 
impartial court of international law. 

Of the three conditions laid down by President Coolidge 
the first two financial conditions are not insurmountable. 
The claims of American firms are not large and could 
doubtless be settled. The American debt is also relatively 
small and could probably be adjusted. 2 Responsibility for 
unwillingness even to confer concerning these conditions 
must rest with the United States. 

It is the third condition, concerning propaganda and hos- 
tility, that is much more crucial. There is probably evi- 
dence to show that the Soviet Government itself would 
refrain from any propaganda or interference in the internal 
affairs of the United States. If Americans refused to 
credit them with sincerity Russia could easily reply by 

1 American Policy Toward Russia, p. 309. 

Professor Schurnan says: "It was an ill-considered act of policy, 
wholly without justification in law, the failure of which subjects the 
governments involved to full responsibility for compensating the aggrieved 
party for the losses suffered from it. The Russian counter-claims ap- 
pear in principles to be quite proper." Pasvolsky and Moulton declare 
that "even if Russia should honor her existing debts, she cannot pay 
them." Russian Debts, p. 155. 

2 In October, 1926, Krassin, Soviet envoy in London, stated that his 
government was prepared to drop counter-claims and acknowledge its 
debt to the United States in full, if negotiations were opened, but the 
Russian attitude is much more independent today. Schuman, p. 314, 
Washington Evening Star, Oct. 9, 1926. 


asking whether the United States had ever effectively in- 
terfered in the internal affairs of other nations, to make or 
unmake governments in Latin America, as in Mexico, 
Nicaragua, Costa Rica, etc. However genuine the neu- 
trality of the Soviet Government might be, there is no 
denial that the Russian Communist Party largely influences 
and at times almost directs both the Soviet Government and 
the Communist International. There is no question what- 
ever that the policy of this Third International is one of 
world revolution. It has been, it is, and it will continue to 
be such, with or without recognition. This has never been 
denied in Russia. 

The question is, however, whether the hostility of the 
Soviet Government and the activities of the Third Inter- 
national would be increased or diminished by recognition. 
All things considered, twenty- four other governments, not 
one of which agree with the policies of communism, have 
thought it on the whole the part of wisdom to recognize 
the Soviet Government. 

There are strong arguments that can be advanced by 
equally sincere men both for and against recognition. A fair 
consideration of some of the reasons for the recognition of 
the present Russian government might include the following : 

1. According to the prevailing foreign policy of the 
United States, recognition, on the de facto theory, does not 
imply approval of policy but simply the ability of a govern- 
ment effectively to control the state. After the French 
Revolution England and most of monarchical Europe re- 
fused to recognize the Republic of France. Washington 


agreed with Jefferson in declaring it to be the American 
policy "to acknowledge any government to be rightful which 
is formed by the will of the nation, substantially declared." * 
Despite the regicide, the guillotine and the red terror, al- 
though approving of none of these things, the United States 
recognized the French Republic in 1793. We had recog- 
nized the Czarist government despite its centuries of tyranny 
and terror. We had recognized the government of Turkey 
in spite of the massacres of Abdul Hamid. Recognition 
did not imply approval of policy. 

When Germany emerged from the war red-handed from 
the chopping off of children's hands and endless barbarities, 
according to Allied propaganda since proved largely false, 
was it the part of wisdom to "hang the Kaiser and make 
Germany pay," driving her as an outlaw into alliance with 
Russia, Japan and her late allies ? Or was it better to seek 
to bring her into the League of Nations, and enter into 
treaties that might lead to peace and prosperity ? 

It was not primarily a question of what Germany de- 
served, or whether Allied propaganda was true or false, but 
of what was best for all the nations concerned. When 
Britain and France recognized Soviet Russia they did not 
approve of her system nor of her propaganda but they felt 
better able to cope with it when she was bound by agree- 
ments and under close official observation than when the 
movement was outlawed and driven under ground. After 

1 Schuman, p. 267. The same view was followed in the recognition 
of the new states of Latin America in their revolt from Spain and pre- 
vailingly until Woodrow Wilson's refusal to recognize Huerta in 


giving a hearing to communist soap-box orators In Hyde 
Park, the crowd heckles them, laughs at them and goes home 
in goocl humor. The British believe that they are far safer 
thus than under a witch-hunting, heresy-hunting regime of 
fear, that sees an imaginary bolshevik under every chair, 
and has no faith in its own institutions. The United States 
has negotiated in every other case involving war debts and 
confiscation. Why are we unwilling even to negotiate with 
a country that every other great nation has recognized? 
If we have recognized despots, dictatorships, slave states, 
polygamists; if we have dealt with cannibals and red-handed 
revolutionists, why can we not treat with Russia which 
has a stable government and is stronger today than it was 
thirteen years ago? 

2. The failure of our past policy of intervention and 
non-recognition, when compared to the plan of recognition 
followed by the other great nations, would not seem to be 
satisfactory. What have we accomplished by non-recogni- 
tion? Can we isolate one-sixth of the world that is in 
closer contact with Asia than are the nations of the West? 
Can we abolish the Communist International or prevent its 
activities by refusing recognition? Can we overthrow the 
present regime in Russia by force or by invasion? If, 
combined with the Allies and all the White Russians, when 
the country was in poverty and chaos, we could not conquer 
Russia in the hour of her greatest weakness, what can we 
do by force in the time of her strength? As Napoleon found 
in 1812, it would be quite impossible to conquer any vast 


territory like Russia, Canada or the United States by an 
invading force. 

Have we no faith in our own form of government and 
its institutions and privileges that we think a handful of 
communists could so easily overthrow it ? 1 Why should 
the American working man, with his high wages, his auto- 
mobile, his home, his liberty, his many privileges, wish to 
exchange them for the poverty, the hardships and the dic- 
tatorship of Russia? If we are afraid of unemployment, 
surely we are rich enough to do for our unemployed what 
a score of advanced industrial nations have done, and set 
our own house in order without any thought or fear of 

Although such a counsel of despair gains during a period 
of unemployment, the decline of communism in America 
during the last decade is shown by the membership rolls of 
the party factions. More than a decade ago they claimed a 
handful of some 40,000. Today there are less than 15,000. 
The communist leader, Jay Lovestone, admitted that the 
membership had fallen to 6,145 at the beginning of 1930. 
The movement is almost microscopic and relatively impotent 
In America and England. If we recognized Russia, the 
moment a communist infringes our statutes we have ready 
our courts, prisons and deportation orders. If a diplomat 

*Roy W. Howard, President of the Scripps-Howard Newspaper 
Service, wrote to Reeve Schley, vice-president of the Chase National 
Bank: "Personally I think the menace of Bolshevism in the United 
States is about as great as the menace of sunstroke in Greenland or 
chilblains in the Sahara." The Soviets in World Affairs, by Louis 
Fischer, p. 560. 


abused his privileges we could demand his immediate recall 
as has been done at other times. 

3. A new situation both in Russia and in the United 
States suggests the desirability o closer trade relations. 
Whatever may be said of the past, when its fall was eagerly 
prophesied every few weeks, the present government in Rus- 
sia is more stable than it has ever been. It is probably one 
of the most stable governments in Europe today. However 
much we may dislike it, as we have seen it has probably 
come to stay at least for a very long time. If it has come 
to stay we must in time trade with Russia. The only ques- 
tion is, shall it be upon favorable or unfavorable terms ? 

Have we reason to fear their economic recovery? A 
prosperous Russia will be a good customer. For decades 
to come she will need our products. But it is quite certain 
that she can and will reduce her trade with the United States 
and buy every possible commodity from others if we con- 
tinue our attitude of latent hositility. As the foreign office 
stated in Moscow to our American party: "If you do not 
change your present policy, we shall certainly change ours." 

Russia has a strange liking for America and American 
methods. She looks with admiration on the industrial effi- 
ciency of Henry Ford, the General Electric Company and 
the International Harvester. She has already had large and 
profitable dealings with all of them and would like to extend 
her trade with us. Nearly a thousand American engineers, 
experts and technicians are now employed in Russia, most of 
them more highly paid than they would be in any country 
in the world. Russia has on the whole scrupulously fulfilled 


her trade agreements. After the Wall Street panic of Oc- 
tober, 1929, faced by a possible buyers' strike in Europe, 
Russia alone voluntarily increased her purchases and became 
for a time one of the six largest buyers from the United 
States. 1 

The S. S. Euro pa, on her maiden voyage, brought Russian 
technicians and $30,000,000 worth of orders for American 
machinery. Yet our trade with Russia today is only a frac- 
tion of what it might be. Without consuls or trade repre- 
sentatives, without contacts or adequate arrangements for 
credit, it is heavily handicapped. Even so it has reached 
the value of over $150,000,000 a year. Russia's foreign 
trade, already nearly worth a billion dollars, is to be doubled 
in the next four years, according to plans that are usually 
carried out. But she can divert her purchases into the most 
favored channels. Her trade has been usually sensitive to 
political relations. The fruitless Arcos raid by the London 
police was followed by a sharp decline of British imports 
and an immediate increase of American and German trade. 
Recent recognition of the Soviet Government by Great Brit- 
ain and new trade agreements brought an early order of 
nearly $15,000,000 for the firm of Imperial Chemicals and 
the prospect of $100,000,000 a year increase for British ex- 
ports. It is quite possible that many foreign business men 
who want to capture Russia's trade would do all in their 
power to persuade the United States not to recognize Russia. 
But recognition, with the increased confidence it would in- 

1 Current History, September, 1930, p. 1069. 


spire, contacts and credit that would follow, would very 
materially affect America's trade with Russia. 

4. World peace would probably be affected even more 
than prosperity by recognition. Many believe that we should 
have friendly, direct and official relations with every gov- 
ernment which has signed the Kellogg Pact. Non-recog- 
nition inevitably carries the implication of latent hostility. 
Russia keenly feels this. Our genuineness in offering the 
Kellogg Pact would imply the elimination of suspicion and 
the institution of all possible direct channels for the solution 
of all disputes. But the first and most obvious of these 
would be normal diplomatic intercourse. 

There can be no effective world-wide reduction of arma- 
ments that leaves Russia out. Europe cannot proportionately 
disarm while ignoring Russia. Russia, like Germany, has a 
vital interest in disarmament. When she proposed to the 
League of Nations Disarmament Commission first complete 
disarmament, and then, failing that, a fifty per cent reduc- 
tion, there is evidence to show that she was genuine though, 
like Germany, not disinterested. Her neighbors of Poland, 
Roumania, and the Little Entente backed by France all have 
proportionately larger armies than Russia. 

Russia is convinced that she is to be invaded by some of 
these western powers. There is a manifest fear psychosis 
and a consequent defensive militarism that is very evident 
and widespread in Russia today. This is behind the diffi- 
culty over the Chinese Eastern Railway and their haste to 
speed up the five year plan. Because of this fear complex 
those who dissent from or oppose the government's eco- 


nomic program, especially if backed by the religious elements 
within Russia or the protests of religious bodies without, 
are being treated with a severity that is usual only for con- 
scientious objectors in wartime. This persecution increases 
when the government believes it is menaced from without. 
It is the conviction of the writer and of many observers in 
Russia today that this war fear, together with economic and 
religious persecution, would be greatly lessened if Russia 
were drawn into friendly intercourse with the rest of the 
world. Russia undoubtedly is endeavoring to build a new 
social order that will differ radically from that of other 
nations and that is bound to challenge the old order at many 
points. There are serious evils in this Soviet system which 
many of the friends of Russia earnestly desire to see les- 
sened or changed. Can that best be done by war or peace? 

It is idle to say that we shall be neutral. We could not 
maintain our neutrality in the world war, and we cannot do 
so toward Russia. We must either recognize a stable gov- 
ernment in Russia and establish friendly trade relations with 
her, or else treat her as an outcast, a moral leper, in cold 
and implacable latent hostility. 

As in the case of Germany, it is not now primarily a ques- 
tion of what Russia deserves from our point of view, but 
what is best for the peace and prosperity of the world. Some 
nations have tried intervention, invasion, false propaganda, 
a hunger blockade, a world boycott, ceaseless latent hostility. 
And with what result? Has not the time arrived when, as 
in the case of our late enemy Germany, we should try the 
method of friendship, recognition and maximum trade? 



Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler states that the world has 
come to one of those great turning points when humanity is 
once more being compelled to reconsider the question which 
from the beginning of history constituted the very heart of 
the problem of political and social progress the question 
of the rights of the one and of the many. Neither an ex- 
treme individualism nor a rigid collectivism seems to offer 
a panacea. He claims that only a liberalism that secures the 
rights of all can check communism. Conversely only a com- 
munism that in the end dares to restore the liberties of all 
can meet liberalism. 

The advantages and disadvantages, the gains and losses 
both of capitalism and communism stand out in contrast as 
one compares the two systems. On the one hand there are 
the obvious advantages of a capitalistic system that is auto- 
matic, that develops initiative and invention, permits a maxi- 
mum of freedom, favors efficiency and the lower costs of 
mass production, and can point to such a measure of mate- 
rial success, higher wages and a higher standard of living. 
On the other hand, one must debit the obvious wastes of 
capitalism, the business cycle of overproduction, depression 
and periodic unemployment, the competition and duplication 
in production and distribution, the high cost of advertising 



and competitive salesmanship, the over-expansion, lack of 
coordination, the waste of luxury production, the exhaustion 
of natural resources, the early scrapping of wage earners, 
the lack of planning for the future, vast inequalities and 
injustices with their resultant class antagonism and ill-will, 
the neglect of the human factor, and the sacrifice or prosti- 
tution of almost everything in the system to the individual 
profit of a small minority. 

Communism dares to affirm high social ideals and stakes 
its faith in human nature upon them. It appeals to higher 
incentives than the profit motive. It maintains the simple 
life for all, and consequently an all-important and essential 
equality. It refuses to measure success in terms of money 
or personal prestige, but tests every result, every law, every 
achievement according to its social value. It cares for the 
poor and favors the long-neglected masses and the majority. 

There are obvious advantages in a vast coordination of 
all economic activity in a plan of the whole for national and 
international life. There are gains in even an approximately 
classless society. There are limitless potentialities in the 
further development of cooperation, in the release of energies 
when the whole mass of labor is given fuller opportunity for 
personal, social and political development. There may be 
hitherto undreamed of possibilities in the socialization of 
agriculture, in relating industry so closely to government, 
to the producing workers and the consuming public, in 
drawing education from the very heart of life and relating 
it to every practical and vital issue ; in submitting the gov- 
ernment to the vigilant and constant review of the workers 


in town and country; in placing every part of life in the 
crucible of criticism and submitting it to the scientific labora- 
tory tests of ever-fresh creative experience. 

There are advantages in the absence of stoppages and 
strikes which, though permitted, are brief and infrequent; 
in the winning of labor from opposition to positive construc- 
tive effort in increasing output and improving production; 
in harnessing the herd feelings of workers' control and the 
dynamic of class consciousness to efficient management and 
to national and world welfare, instead of being negatively 
ranged on the side of protest and obstruction. There is a 
gain in the elimination of former luxury production and the 
reduction of non-productive occupations and persons and the 
concentration of the national energies upon social welfare. 
There are creative possibilities in any system that can inspire 
a new spirit of collective unity based on the fundamental, 
democratic equality of "a control of the workers by workers 
in the interests of the workers and not by and for a superior 
class/' * A new spirit of creation, of expression, of release 
of long-repressed or unsuspected forces is abroad in this 
"laboratory of life." According to the records of the Cen- 
tral Bureau of Workers' Inventions, whereas before the 
revolution an average of 4000 applications a year were re- 
ceived for inventions, since the revolution it has risen to 
over 12,000 and shows a constant tendency to increase. 

1 Russian Economic Development Since the Revolution by Maurice 
Dobb of Cambridge, England, p. 382-388. We are indebted to Mr. Dobb 
m his appraisal of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the 
two systems. 


Worker and peasant now hold their heads up. The coun- 
try is theirs and they know it. There is a spirit of adven- 
ture and of indomitable achievement in the air. They feel 
that this workers' state is something new, and it does not 
yet appear what it shall be. 

But as Trotzky on the one hand and Norman Angel on 
the other point out, each system must be judged by its fruits. 
Which system will in the end produce more, cheaper and 
better goods ? Which will eventuate in greater human wel- 
fare ? Theoretically a functional society ought to be superior 
to an acquisitive one. But will it prove so in practice ? The 
answer cannot be settled by the dogmatism of vehement 
propaganda on either side, nor will it be decided in a decade. 
It would have been unfair to judge of the possibilities of 
the North American Republic ten years after Valley Forge. 
The United States has had over a century and a half to 
develop its economic system and its resources since 1776; 
Russia has had not a decade and a half since 1917. 

Thus far, however, there are certain defects and disad- 
vantages in the Russian system which may or may not be 
overcome. The efficiency of management and the lack of 
competent technicians still leaves much to be desired. The 
red tape of the administrative system and its wooden inflexi- 
bility are still painful. A highly centralized administrative 
control is burdened with unessential details, while the de- 
mand for endless statistics, studies and commissions divert 
management from its proper function. 1 If Henry Ford 

1 Rykov quotes one manager as complaining of nine separate control 
commissions and inspections of his works: "My time is wasted in a 


dared not act without consulting a committee and could not 
trust his subordinates with large responsibility what contri- 
bution could he have made to industry? The burden of 
officialdom, the sheer loss of time occasioned by cumbersome 
administrative machinery, the inability or fear of assuming 
large responsibility for immediate decision and bold action 
when there is an ubiquitous, invisible and incalculable polit- 
ical police to be reckoned with, are severe handicaps. 
Although social solidarity has its undiscovered possibilities 
to develop, individual worth, initiative, personal freedom 
and liberty of conscience, with their hard-won bill of rights 
and Magna Carta of liberty achieved more than seven cen- 
turies ago, may not be brushed aside by a contemptuous 
gesture, and will have to be provided for in any system 
which is to endure in the future or challenge the allegiance 
of free men. If with Hegel and Croce it is maintained that 
the chief lesson of history is freedom, that its whole develop- 
ment may be interpreted as the unfolding idea of liberty, no 
"temporary" dictatorships, however natural or excusable, no 
backward moving eddies in the main current of human 
progress, can be mistaken for its main trend. Probably no 
permanent denial of liberty will effectively appeal to hu- 

most unproductive manner on reports, conferences, negotiations, etc. 
. . . When am I to find time for work?" This manager was later sum- 
moned before the political police on "a childish whim" of the G. P. U. 
Rykov concludes: "Our system of economic administration even today 
Is still centralized to a degree based on mistrust of every minor link of 
the chain." This mistrust has later been shown not only of * 'minor 
links" but of many leaders of commanding ability like Rykov himself. 
See Russian Economic Development, p. 387, and the Report of Rykov at 
the Fifteenth Party Congress, November, 1926. 


manity. It must be remembered, however, that both the 
systems of capitalism and communism are on trial They 
stand over against one another, separated almost in water- 
tight compartments, misunderstanding one another, misrep- 
resenting one another, fearing each other. Each has at- 
tributed the basest motives to the actions of the other. Each 
counts the leaders in the other system, whether capitalist or 
communist, as dishonest or hypocritical. 

Our effort throughout this book has been an attempt to 
understand Russia. This is difficult at best but it should 
not be impossible. We have spoken of the significance of 
Russia, where the largest country in the world is trying the 
boldest social experiment in history, endeavoring to build 
an entirely new social order based upon a new philosophy of 
life, with new motivations, objectives and ideals. It is not 
only a new order parallel to ours but challenging our own at 
every point. 

We examined communism in theory and practice and 
endeavored to trace the phases of its development. We then 
considered the new experiment in collective agriculture and 
the effort to industrialize urban and rural Russia by the 
daring but costly five year plan entailing such hardship for 
the workers. We next examined the structure and organi- 
zation of the Communist Party, which seeks to combine wide 
democratic discussion and participation by the organized 
workers and peasants, with efficient but dangerous centrali- 
zation of power in the hands of a small group, rigorously 
excluding or crushing any deviation to the left or right of 
their policies and program. We saw how this group largely 


controls the Communist Party and through it both the Gov- 
ernment of Soviet Russia and the Comintern, or Third In- 
ternational. The latter controls in turn communist indi- 
viduals and groups in every nation throughout the world. 
Here is a movement of unique solidarity and uniformity 
throughout the world. 

We briefly examined soviet culture and its system of edu- 
cation, frankly designed as propaganda to train the rising 
generation of Russia for effective leadership in a world 
movement. We then examined their new moral standards, 
their conception of marriage and the home, and their power- 
ful youth movement. We tried to understand their attitude 
toward religion and their practices regarding it. 

We sought to evaluate the serious evils that seemed to be 
not merely accidental and temporary but inherent in the very 
essence of the system as a logical and unescapable part of its 
present phase. These evils include a dictatorship that tends 
to take the form at times of a tyranny and even of a terror, 
and which, instead of being "temporary/' has a tendency 
not only to perpetuate itself indefinitely but to become ever 
more intense; secondly the principle and strategy not only 
of world revolution as a panacea for all social ills, but of a 
continuing revolution that ends only when the last bourgeois 
enemy ceases to exist; and thirdly the harsh and intolerant 
dogmatism of the system that manifests itself in the sup- 
pression of divergent free thought, speech or action, and at 
times in the persecution of religion as among the sectarians 
in Russia today. 


We then considered the challenge of communism, despite 
these evils, in its passion for social justice and sharing with 
the poor; its aim of a classless society free from all prejudice 
of race, color or nationality; its provision of a kind of world 
laboratory of social experiment 

After evaluating its merits and demerits we advocated the 
recognition of Soviet Russia as a de facto government, 
not on the ground of its merits but for the sake of the pros- 
perity and peace of the world. We believe that neither 
recognition nor non-recognition will end the propaganda of 
communists in America, but that this can best be dealt with, 
not by the ruthless savagery of police clubs, but by putting 
our own house in order, by giving social justice to our 
workers and then dealing firmly with lawbreakers by our 
own courts, thoroughly cleansed and reformed. 

We find ourselves at the end, as in the beginning, with 
two conflicting social orders confronting one another capi- 
talism and communism. A loosely organized or disorganized 
liberalism has developed individual initiative with its amaz- 
ing accomplishments under competitive industrialism, na- 
tionalism, imperialism and militarism. But something seems 
to be at fault. One reason why many of us hate communism 
is because of a troubled conscience. Our vast social wrongs 
stare us in the face and will not down. There are the evils 
of our unjust distribution of wealth and income; wealth 
irresponsible and unshared side by side with poverty unre- 
lieved. There are shameful slums carelessly accepted almost 
as a matter of course, after a city like Vienna has practically 
ended this abomination forever. Child labor continues after 


defeating two federal amendments to our Constitution which 
sought to abolish it, increasing in many states after it 
has been forbidden in Russian industry. For years there 
has been criminally neglected unemployment, met only by 
wasteful and inefficient spasms of public works, inadequate 
temporary relief and "charity" long after a score of the most 
advanced industrial nations have given the worker justice in 
a legitimate self-respecting system of unemployment insur- 
ance to which the employee regularly contributes as he does 
to his life insurance. 

The present organization of society is the cause of a whole 
brood of social evils. America has an income in normal 
times sufficient to insure a comfortable living for all This 
amounted to $3,745 for a family of five in 1928. Poverty 
and protracted involuntary unemployment in the United 
States are chiefly due to mal-distribution of the national in- 
come. The cream is first skimmed off by the larger fortunes. 
The 15,780 persons with incomes over $100,000 had an 
aggregate income of $4,903,000,000. The 936,470 persons 
with incomes over $5000 received a total income of nearly 
nineteen billion dollars. Two billion dollars a year from 
unearned income would end most serious unemployment and 
provide a fund for legitimate insurance, to which the work- 
ers could also contribute. Leading foreign nations tax large 
unearned incomes from two to four times as heavily as does 
the United States. 

After deducting the above nineteen billion dollars from 
the national income, it left for the 23,100,000 families with 
incomes under $5000, only some $65,340,000,000 of which 


they can spend a maximum of only about $37,830,000,000 
for the $55,000,000,000 value of our manufactures, exclud- 
ing exports. Through mal-distribution we suffer at once 
from over-production and underconsumption. While there 
is an over-production of wheat at prices fatal to the Ameri- 
can and Canadian farmer, yet millions are hungry. While 
there is an over-production of cotton and wool, millions 
shiver without sufficient clothing. Long bread lines of un- 
employed young men haunt our great cities. They starve in 
the midst of plenty and are left idle because they have pro- 
duced too much. 

We are in the midst of exploitation and chaos due to a 
planless system. We have harnessed power-driven machin- 
ery to the profit motive. We have harnessed a billion and a 
half horsepower of energy but our machines have run away 
with us. For uncoordinated, blind profit too many automo- 
bile factories, too many flour and textile mills and twice too 
many coal mines were opened. Over-production and under- 
consumption result. On an average of about every seven 
years unplanned production and inequitable distribution re- 
sult in the cycle of a business crisis or depression. 

At the moment of writing 1 , men are not only unemployed 
in our cities but many of them, hungry and desperate, are 
being demoralized and broken for life. Seventeen nations, 
including Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Austria, 
have either compulsory or subsidized systems of unemploy- 
ment insurance, insuring some 45,000,000 workers. We 
have nothing better to offer them than a spasm of charity 
and temporary relief for a few. We have millions for 


charity but how much have we for planned production for 
use, instead of production for the private profit of a few? 

Have we the intelligence and conscience to control the 
machines we have made in the interest of human welfare 
for all ? Have we no other thought than to hope for a re- 
turn of "prosperity" to start the cycle all over again of 
over-production, speculation, depression and under-consump- 
tion? Do we see no causal connection between this system 
of private profiteering and the inevitable parasitic results of 
economic injustice, crime, lawlessness, racketeering, bootleg- 
ging and prostitution the prostitution of men, women and 
children to ignorance, incompetence and greed? If these 
heavy Slavic workingmen and mountaineer peasants like 
Stalin, who are none too brilliant, have the common sense 
to insure their few unemployed and then eliminate unem- 
ployment altogether, has not America the intelligence and 
the integrity to remove these injustices and adjust her eco- 
nomic order to human need? 

There is our race and color prejudice with its recrudes- 
cence of lynching and the apparent determination to "keep 
the Negro in his place" instead of giving elemental justice 
before the law, and adequate appropriations for education 
with: full and equal opportunity for an abundant life. If 
after nineteen centuries of privilege we refuse to admit the 
Negro to real brotherhood, can we blame the communist or 
any other system for offering him equal comradeship? Is 
our civilization to be weighed in the balances and found 
wanting in these primitive essentials of social justice? If we 


refuse to permit evolution can we blame oppressed classes 
for demanding revolution ? 

The whole competitive system seems to beget strife be- 
tween classes, nations and races. It leads repeatedly from 
latent to overt war. The last century alone recorded some 
forty wars under this system. In the preparatory disarma- 
ment commission of the League of Nations in 1930, Russia's 
Foreign Minister, Maxim Litvinov, who in a previous con- 
ference had in vain asked first for complete international 
disarmament, and failing that, for a fifty per cent reduction 
in military expenditure, pointed out that since this disarma- 
ment commission was established in 1926 the five great 
powers had, instead of decreasing, actually increased their 
war budgets by $500,000,000, or 27 per cent annually. 

The writer heard Lord Thompson, British Air Minister, 
just before his death in the crash of the great airship in 
France, say that Great Britain was spending more than a 
thousand dollars a minute on preparedness and armament 
and that America was spending even more than this, or over 
$800,000,000 a year for the next five years. President 
Hoover admits that the United States is spending more than 
any other nation in the world in connection with war, or 
72 per cent of the national budget in 1930. The disarma- 
ment commission of the League of Nations points out that 
the world is spending over four billion dollars yearly for 
war purposes, the burden of which amounts annually to 
more than $2 per capita or $10 per family for the whole 
human race. 


The "big navy" advocates in the United States are calling 
for a billion dollar "treaty navy." Meantime the required 
enrollment of thousands of students in compulsory military 
training in the R. O. T. C. inculcates the military spirit and 
makes increasingly difficult the development of the will to 
peace among many of our youth. 

In contrast to the capitalistic system we have offered to 
us as a panacea, this harsh dictatorship in Russia with its 
disregard of the rights of the individual, its wanton denial 
of liberty, the hatred of its class war, its destructive revolu- 
tion, its scorn for and persecution of some of the finest 
achievements of our long-struggling humanity. The con- 
temptuous dogmatism of its ipsi dixit that communism is the 
only panacea for the world neither wins the consent of our 
reason nor overawes us by its threat of force. We at least 
are not dependent for our daily bread upon the permission 
of any terror. 

As we have seen, two conflicting social orders confront 
each other. There is already latent warfare between them. 
Evidences of this are found in fear, in wild rumors, in false 
propaganda on both sides. Down the streets of Moscow 
from time to time one sees great red banners warning 
workers and youth to "Be ready" to repel the coming in- 
vasion of Russia by capitalist countries for the overthrow 
of their sacred revolution and the rights of the workers. 
Europe and America would think this too childish for words. 
Their attitude might be, "Who wants to invade Russia in 
the light of the abysmal failure of former intervention; who 


dreams of doing so, and who cares whether they have such 
hysterical fears or not?" 

Nevertheless, there is an evident and widespread fear 
psychosis among the Russian people. It is like petrol ready 
for the spark. And the leaders in the small group of cen- 
tralized control, who dominate in one unit all the govern- 
ment, industry, trade, finance, collective agriculture, educa- 
tion, radio broadcasting, film production, platform, public 
press and police in a word all means of communication, in- 
formation, education and propaganda are able to apply the 
spark to the petrol. They can regulate, control it, even with 
a perfected silencer and exhaust, and ride upon it as in a 
powerful and coordinated motor car. 

When the Pope made his indignant protests against re- 
ligious persecution in Russia, this was skilfully turned to 
account by the leaders of the Soviet Union and one sees 
today in the Park of Culture and Rest in Moscow, an effigy 
of the Pope with a death's head under the papal hat, carrying 
two cannon under his arms, leading a military invasion of 
Russia. Once again this seems too childish to be taken seri- 
ously. But the leaders are able to foment and maintain a 
kind of continued war psychosis which responds to propa- 
ganda with the same heroism, sacrifice and devotion as the 
millions under arms and in the cities, factories and farms of 
all the nations of Europe and America responded during the 
world war, even to the rationing of food, physical priva- 
tion and dollar-a-year war service. This is a unique and 
significant phenomenon. 


On the other hand, the nations of Europe and America 
also have a certain fear psychosis concerning Russia. We, 
too, have our propaganda against them. We are alarmed at 
the "enormous" dumping of a nation that has less than two 
per cent of the world's trade. In the morning paper we 
read, concerning the plan of paving that every tourist sees 
going on in Moscow, Princess Kropotkin's assurance that 
the streets are "torn up continually on orders from the gov- 
ernment to offer obstacles to street meetings and uprisings 
against the government." x Such a statement is amazing. 
These "street meetings and uprisings against the govern- 
ment" exist in the imaginations of the princess and of the 
pathetic White Russian emigres throughout the world and 
of apprehensive Americans. Communist meetings of pro- 
test in America are sometimes broken up by police clubs, but 
anti-revolutionary meetings are not allowed in Russia. The 
workers there, for all their hardships, are better off now 
than they have ever been and would not take part in such 
meetings ; while others who would count themselves enemies 
of the regime would not dare to participate. Theoretically, 
a man might take part in one meeting, but he would never 
be left at liberty to take part in another, so that as a matter 
of fact such meetings are not held. Meetings of loud pro- 
test, yes, but not uprisings to overthrow the government. It 
would be as true and as ridiculous to suppose that our Ameri- 
can streets are torn up to prevent uprisings. Yet, upon such 
statements or unwitting propaganda we are continually fed. 

York Times, November 7, 1930. 


In our judgment any system which denies liberty is a 
menace, however economically efficient it may be and how- 
ever great its contributions to social experimentation and 
social justice, whether in fascist Italy or communist Russia. 
This book looks toward the understanding of Russia, 
both as a menace and as a social challenge. It bespeaks an 
understanding of both its evil and its good. But how shall 
this menace be met ? Congressman Fish, with many others 
In our country, believes that it can be met by hunting Reds. 
If we could break up their meetings and smash their heads 
with police clubs, if we could gag them, imprison them like 
Mooney and Billings, put them to death like Saccho and 
Vanzetti, transport them as in the Palmer raids of our war 
hysteria, then we could dwell in peace, they tell us. 

But vain is the dream. Our social evils cannot be solved 
by a "hush, hush" policy,, blind, deaf and dumb to every 
social wrong, praying only for a return of "prosperity" 
which we can again attribute pharisaically to our superior 
virtues. They cannot be solved by a series of "Polly- Anna- 
nias" pronouncements telling the rest of the world to pay 
their enormous debts, meet our enormous tariffs, and only 
to be good that they, as we, may live happily ever afterward. 

The solution does not lie either in a return of material 
prosperity nor in hunting radicals. The Reds we need merci- 
lessly to hunt are the red wrongs of suffering humanity, 
the crying evils of our unjust social order. The only cor- 
rective of social wrong is social justice. The remedy for a 
planless chaos where social good is an accidental by-product 
of competitive profit should be a planned economy of our 


own for the whole community. Stuart Chase shows that we 
can only meet Russia on her own ground by the application 
of intelligence and organization to our own economic order: 
"The only final way out lies through planned production . . . 
If we do not embark on a program of industrial coordination 
after our own fashion, and that shortly, we shall be driven 
some day, after God knows what suffering and bloodshed, 
to the Russian formula. The challenge presented by over- 
production in an age of a billion horsepower is, to my mind, 
just as ominous as that." * 

In the same morning paper in which the Russian princess 
warns us against Moscow, the Archbishop of Prague, com- 
ing nearer home, says : "We live in an era of capitalism, the 
consequence of which is pauper ism, The world's intelligence 
today is entirely harnessed to the service of capitalism. 
Great events arise only from a sea of blood. . . . Woe to 
the nation whose statesmen fail to recognize this. The time 
is ripe for revolution." 2 

We utterly disagree that great events arise only from a 
sea of blood. The Archbishop must have been misquoted. 
Jesus of Nazareth arose from no sea of blood. But no man 
with a claim to statesmanship should be so blind as merely 
to warn us concerning the paving torn up in Moscow and 
of communists in America if he has neither the vision nor 
courage to seek to right the social wrongs that have driven 
the long suffering masses of Russia to revolution. 

Let us face this issue and not evade it. There is "some- 

1 Harper's, November, 1930. 

3 New York Times, November 7, 1930, p. 1. 


thing rotten" not only in communist Russia, but right here 
in capitalist America. Do we admit or deny it? Granted 
that it cannot be lightly changed in a day, do we demand that 
it shall be changed? Have we or have we not a remedy? 
If we applied the principles of justice, of mercy, of love, of 
overcoming evil with good, of the redemption of the evil 
doer, of peace, instead of war, do we believe that we have 
the remedy? If so, will we honestly apply it? 

If we will not, can we blame others who think that we are 
too hypocritical or cowardly either to admit these wrongs 
or to tackle them seriously, for seeking to apply their 
remedy? If we refuse either to demand or allow social 
justice by consent, there are those who will seek to impose 
it by compulsion. The greed of special privilege was blind 
in Bourbon France, in Hapsburg Austria, in Hohenzollern 
Prussia, in Czarist Russia. Will it be equally blind in capi- 
talist America? What is disquieting is, not that we have 
failed as yet patiently to work out a solution, but that we 
have failed so largely even to see the need of one or to 
insistently demand it. If any one asks us to put our own 
house in order, some one cries, "Socialist! Communist! 
Radical! Pacifist! Traitor 1" There is a hysterical, emo- 
tional appeal to hunt bolsheviks and silence concerning the 
evils which they expose. 

Hegel, followed by his pupil Marx, maintained in his 
philosophy of history that man advances through the evolu- 
tionary stages of his development by conflict. We have a 
thesis of truth or half-truth at a given stage of development 
which is met by the antithesis of another half-truth. These 


challenge, influence, interpenetrate each other until, preserv- 
ing the measure of value in each, man rises to a higher 
synthesis of truth in a new epoch. Marx believed that 
successive epochs of slavery, feudalism, capitalism and com- 
munism evolve by necessary, inexorable, economic laws until 
man reaches the final term, the highest stage of all, in the 
complete sharing of communism. 

Without for a moment believing that history runs in such 
fixed and rigid channel beds as the over-simplified dogma 
of Marx maintained, we yet believe in the general principle 
of evolutionary development. When we review the glaring 
evils of the social injustice of capitalism as practiced in 
Europe and America, or those of communism with its denial 
of liberty as it actually operates in Russia, can we believe 
that either of these is the final term or the highest stage in 
man's evolutionary development? Must we be offered the 
bitter alternative of material prosperity, for some, at the 
price of social injustice, or of social justice at the cost of 
tyranny? Cannot a higher synthesis of the future achieve 
both freedom and social justice, both "liberty and union," 
individual initiative and social cooperation ? Must we choose 
between the Scylla and Charybdis of unjust capitalism and 
tyrannical communism ? Can we not steer a middle course 
avoiding the evils of both? Must we have the domination 
of the many by the few, whether of the fifty-eight men of 
wealth who are now said to "rule America," or the less than 
fifty-eight in the centralized group which dominates the 
hard "monolithic" communist world? 


Russia has no monopoly of the ideal of justice, nor have 
Anglo-Saxon countries a monopoly of liberty. Let us note 
the advance of a country like Denmark. There we have no 
two simple classes of exploiters and exploited. The large 
estates have been divided up. Roughly, nine-tenths of the 
farmers own their own farms. Nine-tenths of them belong 
to their advanced and highly successful cooperatives. These 
cooperative societies are more efficient and prosperous than 
those of Russia, and they are not controlled by steam-roller 
methods. The farmers of Denmark are better off and better 
educated than those of Russia. They are not confined to the 
alternative of a laissez faire competitive capitalism or a 
dictatorship of communism. The world has other alterna- 

If it be said that Denmark is prevailingly rural we can 
turn to the British Labor Party or the Social Democratic 
Party of Germany or to many others. We find no call 
either to hold them up as models of attainment nor to pour 
forth scorn and hatred and misrepresentation concerning 
them as in Russia. We have come not to destroy but to 
fulfill. And we do not find any sudden, dazzling and final 
attainment either in capitalism or communism, in democracy 
or dictatorship. Panacea there is none. All social theories 
are on trial. 

There are many times "seven thousand who have not 
bowed the knee" to the tyranny of either system and who 
refuse to be silent about the wrong of either, or the values 
of both. They hold their heritage of the ideal of liberty 
and democracy which they refuse to surrender even though 


it has never been fully realized. They too share in the 
passion for social justice and they demand and will work for 
nothing less than both ideals. They, as well as extreme 
capitalists or communists, have their aims, their programs 
and policies. And these are neither the greed of private 
profit for the few, nor the tyranny of a single class dictator- 
ship for the many. Here are some of their objectives : 

1. The protection of the workers by hand and brain 
against the four great risks of industry and indeed of life 
itself accidents, illness, old age and unemployment. The 
United States is years behind most other civilized countries 
in the protection of its workers. The increasingly rapid 
changes in industry, leading to technological unemployment ; 
the scrapping of men in middle age in our heavy industries, 
after ten or fifteen years of exhausting toil; the refusal of 
great numbers of corporations to employ new workers after 
reaching forty, forty-five or fifty years of age these and 
other factors are leading to increasing insecurity as the years 
go on. Society, not the individual, should assume the 
burden, through various forms of social insurance of these 
risks which now bring so much tragedy into the life of tens 
of thousands of our people. Supplementing social insurance, 
we call for a long-range plan of public works in city, state 
and nation and a comprehensive system of public employ- 
ment agencies. 

2. The restoration of an increasing share in the wealth 
created by society to the community for social purposes, 
through the imposition of higher income and inheritance 
taxes on the higher income levels and of land values taxes. 


Society should have at its disposal for health, for educa- 
tional, for recreational and other public activities a far larger 
fund than it can now depend upon. Higher taxation would 
increase this fund and at the same time lessen the unjust 
inequalities of income which are vitiating our whole national 

3. The reorganization tinder public ownership and oper- 
ation of such strategic industries as are now being grossly 
mismanaged or which are gouging the public through exces- 
sive charges and the regulation of which has broken down. 
In the forefront of these two types of industrial under- 
takings come the chaotic coal industry, and the highly 
concentrated electric power industry. Domestic consumers 
in the cities of northern New York under private ownership 
have to pay two or three times as much for their electricity 
as do housewives in Ontario cities, where electricity is 
generated, transmitted and distributed by public agencies, 
while large power consumers pay from 60 to 170 per cent 
more in the New York centers and large commercial users 
pay from about 40 per cent to more than three times the 
costs for similar service in the Ontario cities. 

4, The freeing of labor from unfair legal restrictions 
upon their activities which take such forms as yellow dog 
contracts, the virtual prohibition of boycotting and effective 
peaceful picketing, and the rigorous use of injunctions to 
hamper almost their every action. The very life blood of 
the labor movement beats through the channels by which it 
may organize and consolidate its group concerns. If these 
are choked, the labor movement cannot live ; and the protec- 


tion of labor in these essentials should be a first charge upon 
any party which honestly seeks to promote the basic interests 
of the laboring millions. 

5. A program of farm relief which will reduce the dis- 
parity between urban and rural prices, not by giving a bonus 
to stimulate the export of food products and thus artificially 
increase the prices of agricultural goods, but by removing 
as rapidly as possible the high tariffs on manufactured 
goods. This will at once lower the prices of the goods which 
the farmer buys such as textiles, farm machinery and ferti- 
lizer. Moreover by permitting foreign countries to sell 
more manufactured goods to us, we will be able to sell more 
agricultural products such as cotton, wheat and pork to 
them. This will bring higher prices to farmers on their 
agricultural commodities and thus help in a double way to 
restore the balance between industry and agriculture which 
is so sorely needed. An agricultural program must also 
include far greater aid to cooperative effort than has hitherto 
been attempted. x 

6. The granting of fuller opportunity for development to 
the Negroes. The states should spend Increasing sums to 
raise the level of Negro education, and Federal aid might 
appropriately be devoted to this purpose. Federal protec- 
tion against lynching should also be accorded the Negro, and 
he should be given a fuller opportunity to function as a 
worker and as a citizen. 

7. The freeing of Western civilization from the menace 
of another war. Unless the forces of destruction in the 
present nationalistic system are checked, the Western World 


at best will be hurried into another far more disastrous war 
than that from which we emerged a decade ago. More con- 
cretely, they insist on withdrawal of the marines from Haiti 
and Nicaragua, the removal of financial and military dicta- 
torships, sponsored by the citizens or government of the 
United States, from Latin American countries and the 
restoration of their national sovereignty; the carrying out 
of America's promise to restore Filipino independence; the 
radical reduction of naval and army forces and the govern- 
ment building of naval vessels under government auspices 
to the end of taking the profit out of armaments pending 
the day of complete disarmament; the recognition of the 
Russian Republic; the entrance of the United States into 
the League of Nations ; and the organization of international 
economic commissions on raw materials, tariffs, investments, 
etc., in an attempt to minimize economic friction among 
various countries. 

8. The reorganization of the judicial system of the coun- 
try to the end that the courts may work more speedily, more 
justly, and with less autocracy than in the past. There is 
need also of a philosophy. Nor can this any longer be an 
individualistic, laissez faire philosophy, formulated to fit a 
primitive agricultural and handicraft civilization, and based 
on the false hypothesis that we are still living in the days of 
"rugged individualism." We are now living in the twentieth 
century, in the days of huge aggregations of people in 
crowded cities, of enormous private monopolies and com- 
bines. Only a philosophy of cooperation, of collectivism, of 
associated effort for the common good, is applicable to the 


needs of the common people today.' And this must be the 
social philosophy underlying the great future party of the 

The above eight points are quoted from the pamphlet 
Why a Political Realignment? by Professor Paul Douglas 
issued by the League for Independent Political Action. 1 
They represent a very brief and partial statement of the 
aims and ideals of a growing number in America who 
despair of any fearless or adequate reforms from the polit- 
ical party of wealth and privilege, of high tariffs and political 
corruption in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, or of the 
party of the reactionary solid South and Tammany Hall. 
Many are determined to build, as did Kier Hardy and 
Ramsay MacDonald in England, a third party in America 
that shall in time combine farmer, labor and intellectual 
elements, and that shall demand the eight points mentioned 
above and more in a word both liberty and justice. 

This earnest group is overawed or dismayed neither by 
the wealth, or power, or numbers or evils of capitalism or 
communism, or of the old political parties mentioned above. 
The members will doubtless be called "Reds supported by 
Moscow gold'' in reactionary America, and sneered at as 
timid "reformist" compromisers by dogmatic communists. 
But they intend to pursue their ideal of a higher synthesis 
that shall combine individual liberty and social justice. To 
this synthesis both thesis and antithesis will contribute, both 
America and Russia will have their party to play. 

1 The League for Independent Political Action, 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, 
New York, John Dewey, Chairman; Howard Y. Williams, Executive 


The capitalist world will not remain stationary. The vast 
process of socialization is everywhere at work and widely 
manifest. The uniting of industry in trusts and ever larger 
units is only part of this process. Russia also is not station- 
ary but is changing more rapidly than any country in the 
world. The vast work of education, not only in schools, 
but in cooperatives, trade unions, youth organizations and 
local self-government; will have an almost inevitable demo- 
cratic trend in ever-widening circles. No tyranny can 
permanently maintain itself even in Moscow. Perhaps the 
gathering force of socialization on the one hand and of 
democratization on the other both make toward a final and 
higher synthesis. 

If this be so, and if there be any philosophy of history, 
instead of one civilization possessing a monopoly of all the 
virtues assailed by a revolution that is a compound of all the 
vices, as we have seen we have in the world today two 
antithetic and challenging social orders t as thesis and an- 
tithesis, neither of them perfect or final, which may both 
make their contribution to a higher stage or a final synthesis. 
If this be so, let As understand the important part America 
is destined to play, as well as the necessity for the reform 
of the evils which have been mentioned and of the vast 
process of socialization which must take place if she is to 
fulfill her destiny. Also, in spite of all the menace of a 
dictatorship, let us give full credit to the possible contri- 
bution of the Soviet Union. But whether it be good or evil 
we are unescapably confronted by The Challenge of 

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